I was thinking about this idea in relation to Trump and wondering what would happen in January if Chief Justice Roberts actively refused to render the Oath to Trump?

Apparently Wikipedia says "While the Constitution does not mandate that anyone in particular should administer the presidential oath of office..."

I guess it's similar to this question: if the president refuses.

Just curious if there could be a hail mary via the Supreme Court to stop this mess.

  • 6
    I'm not sure what you're looking for other than what the Wikipedia says. if the Chief Justice won't do it, someone else will and it'll be equally valid.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 20:46
  • 2
    Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by his father, a Justice of the Peace.
    – DJohnM
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 4:05
  • 7
    "to stop this mess" You would only create a bigger mess by undermining a lawful election process.
    – eques
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 15:23
  • Another point you may be missing is that the oath does not confer the powers of the president. The clock does that. Even if the president never takes the oath, he is still the president. The constitution requires the president to take the oath but it does not say that if he fails to take it there are any consequences
    – JoelFan
    Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 7:24

1 Answer 1


As you mentioned, the Constitution does not require that the Chief Justice administer the presidential oath of office. Also noted in Wikipedia the oath has been administered at times by a variety of other officials. If the Chief Justice were to refuse (an unlikely event as justices are non-partisan) then a suitable replacement would be found.

  • Is it even necessary to find a replacement? Couldn't the president-elect simply speak the oath independently, in the presence of witnesses?
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 8:18

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