Obama is having two ceremonies this time?
Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
The 20th Amendment to the Constitution changed the last day of a president's term to Jan. 19. With that, the next leader takes the oath on Jan. 20.
The exception to that rule is when – like this year – the 20th lands on a Sunday. Because this is the case for Obama, he'll hold a private ceremony on the actual day of the power changeover and swear the oath for the public the next day.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has this to say on the precedent for a second ceremony:
"The first time an Inauguration fell on a Sunday was in 1821 for President Monroe's second swearing-in. Monroe decided, after consulting the Supreme Court, to hold the public ceremony on Monday since 'courts and other public institutions were not open on Sunday.' There was no private swearing in on March 4, the date the previous term expired.
In 1849, the second time Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday, President-Elect Zachary Taylor followed the precedent set by President Monroe and had the oath of office administered Monday, March 5, at the public ceremony."
It's the second time Obama has had to do two swearing ins. Obama had to repeat his oath of office in 2009 after Chief Justice John Roberts misspoke while delivering it in front of the nation.
That puts Obama at a total of four Inaugurations – making him tied for the record with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.