Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden was on Sunday officially sworn for his second term, hours before President Barack Obama takes his second oath of office at the White House.
70-year old Biden was administered the oath of office on his family Bible by the Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor at a private ceremony at his official residence here, following a private mass.
Obama and Biden are being sworn in today, January 20, the Constitutionally-mandated date for the President to be sworn in to office.
Apart from Biden`s family, about 120 guests - including Attorney General Eric Holder, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and former Senator/Defence Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel watched him take the oath.
Interestingly, the Vice President`s swearing in is not mentioned in the American Constitution; his oath is mandated by congressional statute.
Because it is a Sunday, however, the official inauguration ceremony will take place on Monday, with the two taking their oaths again followed by all the pomp and circumstance afforded to inaugurals.
Biden used his family`s Bible for the swearing in and will use the same Bible for his swearing in on Monday.
The Bible "is five inches thick, has a Celtic cross on the cover and has been in the Biden family since 1893," the Vice President`s office said.
"He used it every time he was sworn in as a US Senator and when he was sworn in as Vice President in 2009. His son Beau used it when he was sworn in as Delaware`s attorney general," a White House official said.
Three women have previously sworn-in presidents and vice presidents: Judge Sarah T Hughes swore-in President Johnson in 1963; Justice Sandra Day O`Connor swore-in Vice President Dan Quayle in 1989; and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg swore-in Vice President Al Gore in 1997.