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When a president of the United States is sworn in, normally the person administering the oath is the Chief Justice of the United States. Is that required by some law?

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No law requires it. In fact, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in by a federal district judge, Sarah T. Hughes.

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  • But Lyndon Johnson was in an abnormal emergency situation after John F. Kennedy's assassination. At a regularly scheduled inauguration, might there be a law requiring the Chief Justice to officiate. – Michael Hardy Aug 18 '17 at 18:28
  • @MichaelHardy why would anyone pass such a law? What if the CJ is sick? – phoog Aug 18 '17 at 18:44
  • A law might say this is a duty of the chief justice but that if he cannot or will not serve then an associate justice does it, and may next a federal judge, and next the nearest notary public or something. – Michael Hardy Aug 18 '17 at 18:52
  • What made me think of this was someone's comment on Facebook, that Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the infamous ruling in Scott v. Sanford that Negroes are not citizens, had to swear in Abraham Lincoln. If he had declined then doubtless there would have been headlines about it, but I wonder to what extent it can be said that he had to. – Michael Hardy Aug 18 '17 at 18:54

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