January 21st vs. The 20th Amendment

By Katherine Fritcke

Obama Swearing In- 2009 [Image via Google Images]

Obama Swearing In- 2009 [Image via Google Images]

January 20th is going to be just as important as the 21st. President Obama will be inaugurated not once, but twice in the course of two days.

On January 20th, President Obama will be sworn in during a private ceremony, while the grand performance will take place on the Capitol steps the next day. However, Obama’s second swearing in has nothing to do with Chief Justice Robert’s “flub” four years ago, it actually has to do with a constitutional amendment.

According to the 20th Amendment:

The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January.

But how is this a problem? The 20th of January falls on a Sunday this year. We can thank James Monroe for the double inauguration. His presidential inauguration was the first to fall on a Sunday. After consulting with the Supreme Court, he decided to move his official inauguration ceremony to the following Monday.

This will be the seventh time the official end of a presidential term has ended on a Sunday calling for two seperate swearing in ceremonies. It has also happened to:

  • James Monroe, 1821
  • Zachary Taylor, 1849
  • Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877
  • Woodrow Wilson, 1917
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1957
  • Ronald Reagan, 1985

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