Joe Biden, who took office as President of the United States, was to take the oath of office by 12 noon on Wednesday, but he uttered the last words of his oath as early as 11.48 local time (18.48 Finnish time).
The “early rise” of the oath of office could confuse those who had taken the time literally.
According to the preliminary program of the swearing-in ceremony, the oath would be taken at about 12 noon, but already a couple of hours before the ceremony began, a detailed schedule was announced that Biden intended to take the oath at 11.44.
After being sworn in four minutes later, it might appear that Biden had become president 12 minutes ahead of schedule.
However, this did not happen, as the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifies that powers will not pass to the new president until exactly 12 noon.
Thus, the time of taking the oath does not determine the actual beginning of the reign.
“The oath of office is required, but it doesn’t make Biden the next president directly,” Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, pointed out to the Washington Post.
“So when Senator Amy Klobuchar said she was the first to call Biden Mr. President, she might have been literally but not fundamentally right,” Turley clarified.
In effect, therefore, power passed to Biden in the middle of his inaugural address.
Read more: Read here Biden's historical speech word for word
Robert Chesney, a professor of law at the University of Texas, adds that under the Constitution, an oath must be sworn “before” the president takes office.
- Nevertheless, the term of office of the previous President will not end until noon on 20 January.
It would therefore be a little strange if there were a rule that the time limit should be met before the new president can swear an oath.
After all, there would be a situation at least for a moment where neither would be president, Chesney pointed out.