Does the Presidential Inauguration have to be in Washington?

The recent threads about Obama’s grandmother have got me wondering: Im hoping she lives to see her grandson’s inauguration, but if she continues to decline, an inauguration in Washington might prove inconvenient. So could they hold the inauguration ceremonies in Hawaii?

(I’m aware that a President can be sworn in anywhere)

The various celebrations and ceremonies are bound more by tradition than law and a newly-elected President could choose to ignore or bypass them, though I wouldn’t recommend it personally since it’d be a good way to alienate the new session of Congress and give the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (who is in charge of such ceremonies at the Capitol) nothing to do.


In principle, no reason why not. I can’t think of any reason an inaguration is required at all (beyond swearing in, which, as you say, just needs a president-elect and someone qualified to administer oaths). All you need is a big stand, and to invite everyone to the new place.

In practice, I imagine they’ve been planning the 2009 inauguration for quite some time. It’s probably too late now to practically move it anywhere, even if you had all interested parties on board. --you’d need to find a location, get security arrangements checked out for the president + lots of dignitaries, arrange a bunch of contracts, and then set up. You’d also be throwing away all the time and money spent preparing the DC inauguration. Still, this is a practical concern-and can be fixed with more time or a simpler inauguration.

And in the real world, no. Presidents don’t move their inauguration 5000 miles just for one person. Nor do they decide to be ‘that guy’–the first president to not have his inauguration in the usual place.

George Washington could get away with it, though. At least the first time.

And, technically, the second time too. New york, Philadelphia.

and LBJ in Dallas.

Well, he was the first President to do a lot of things. :dubious:

But he didn’t really “get away with it.” He was sworn in in the national capitals of the day, NYC and Philadelphia respectively, which is just where Congress expected him to.

And Coolidge, who was sworn in in his father’s living room by his father.

This gets into a semantic argument over whether a “swearing in” is the same thing as an “inauguration.”

Yeah, the OP already wrote that a swearing in could take place anywhere. Why even bring it up? Only elected presidents have inaugurations.

Because an inauguration is just a public swearing in with a bunch of parties afterwards. So, while the hoopla would undoubtedly be a bitch to plan, there’s no reason it can’t be done.

I suspect the proper thing to do would be to treat the Inauguration like a destination wedding, and then have a separate reception back in Hawaii or Arizona for the people back home who couldn’t afford to fly all that way.