The Oath of Affirmation

By Katherine Fritcke

Obama will take his "Oath of Affirmation" again on January 20th[Photo by NASA]

Obama will take his “Oath of Affirmation” again on January 20th
[Photo by NASA]

With President Obama’s second inauguration taking place on Monday, I have heard people question the reason for a second swearing in. 

The inauguration of second term presidents have been known for being uneventful. When George Washington was first inaugurated as the first president of the United States it was commemorated with an extensive speech about the future of his position and the prosperity of the country, finally rung in by a 13 gun salute.  However, during his second inauguration, he only spoke 135 words.

While being known as being uneventful, why do we need to bother with a second swearing in if he has already been inaugurated once befire? This is where the Constitution comes into play.

According to Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Even though the President will return to power, According to the 20th Amendment, Section 1:

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

That means that even while returning to office, the President is required to take the oath once again. The second time around it should be called the “Oath of Re-Affirmation.”

We can only hope that with all of the excitement that our group has for the upcoming inauguration, Obama will be just as enthusiastic as the first time and say more than 135 words.

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