Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, elevated to that post in 1986, was given his first opportunity to administer the presidential oath of office to the swearing-in of George Bush.
Rehnquist, who presided over Friday's swearing-in ceremony, was a Supreme Court associate justice when President Reagan promoted him to succeed Warren E. Burger, who twice administered the oath of office to Reagan.Vice President Dan Quayle was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
The Constitution-Article II, Section 1, to be precise-spells out the exact oath the president must take.
It has been the American tradition for chief justices to swear in new presidents since John Jay was asked to swear in George Washington to a second term.
Actually, Jay said he was unable to attend and sent William Cushing, the Supreme Court's senior associate justice to administer the oath in 1793.
Subsequent chief justices have not missed presiding over inauguration ceremonies, except when Lyndon Johnson was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Sarah Hughes aboard Air Force One hours after John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
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