EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Inauguration

January 18, 2009

1st time for everyone: Roberts will swear in Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Harvard-educated lawyers who made rapid ascents to power will briefly share the stage Tuesday at the presidential inauguration.

Barack Obama will be sworn in as president. The black-robed man on the other side of the Bible will be Chief Justice John Roberts.

The 53-year-old chief justice and his conservative leaning Supreme Court could have the last word on some of Obama's most important policies.

And, with a lifetime appointment, Roberts figures to hold his job a lot longer than Obama occupies the White House.

In fact, if life expectancy and past Supreme Court tenures are any guide, Roberts could still be swearing in presidents in the 2030s.

The two longest-serving chief justices, John Marshall and Roger Taney, between them swore in every elected president from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln. Marshall presided at nine inaugurations with five presidents; Taney administered the presidential oath seven times to seven men.

Roberts is the youngest chief justice since Marshall, who was 45 when he joined the court and remained there until his death at age 79. Another six presidential elections will be held before Roberts reaches that age.

Obama and Roberts spent about an hour together Wednesday at the Supreme Court. The chief justice invited Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden to visit with the justices, promising a warm welcome. They were all smiles in photographs of the private meeting released by Obama's transition office.

The next president and the chief justice may be bound by their education, relative youth, political smarts and common roles as parents of young children, but they diverge sharply in their politics.

Indeed, as they face each other Tuesday, it will be the first time a president is sworn in by a chief justice whose confirmation he opposed. In 2005, Obama voted against Roberts after President George W. Bush nominated the then-appeals court judge as chief justice.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
Inauguration

NDN Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Photos of the Week