President Barack Obama’s inauguration as president for a second time will take place in less than two months, and, when he does, he will make history again.
Since the 20th amendment in 1933, the US Constitution mandates that a president is sworn in at “noon on the 20th day of January” following a presidential election, but when that day falls on a Sunday, the rule is pretty much ignored and the inauguration is moved to the following Monday. This January 20 is a Sunday, making just the third time in history that a presidential inauguration has had to be moved to January 21, according to the Library of Congress. The second Obama inauguration marks the seventh time one was pushed back a day because the Constitutionally-mandated date fell on a Sunday.
The Associated Press reports that James Monroe was the first president to move his inauguration date for this reason. When he was re-elected, his second term inauguration date of March 4, the date of inaugurations prior to the 20th amendment, fell on a Sunday. He moved it to March 5, starting a tradition.
After Monroe, Zachary Taylor followed suit when he was elected in 1849. Rutherford B. Hayes did the same in 1877, as did Woodrow Wilson during his second inauguration in 1917.
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second inauguration was the first to be held on January 21 in 1957, and Ronald Regan’s second inauguration in 1985 was done on the same date. ABC OTUS reports that Eisenhower and Reagan held private swearing-in ceremonies on Sundays that fell on January 20 but then held public events the next day.
With Obama’s inauguration, the third to be held on January 21, the president makes history for a second time. Obama’s first inauguration made him the first black president in US history, and his second adds him to the unique list of president’s not inaugurated on the Constitutionally-mandated day.
Obama will also be the first president ever inaugurated on Martin Luther King Day, which in 2013 falls on January 21.