Biden officially sworn in for second term

Vice President Joe Biden was officially sworn for his second term this morning at 8:21 a.m. ET by Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, hours before President Obama takes his second oath of office at the White House.

The two are being sworn in today, Jan. 20, the Constitutionally-mandated date for the president to be sworn into office.  Interestingly, the vice president's swearing in is not mentioned in the Constitution; his oath is mandated by congressional statute (it's different from the presidential oath; the VP oath is the same oath taken by members of Congress). Because it's a Sunday, however, the official inauguration ceremony will take place tomorrow, with the two taking their oaths again followed by all the pomp and circumstance afforded to inaugurals.

Surrounded by his family, Biden was sworn in at the VP's residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., following a private mass held there.  About 120 guests - including Attorney General Eric Holder and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - watched him take the oath, administered by Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and fourth female judge to administer the oath of office.

According to Biden's office, three women have previously sworn in presidents and vice presidents: Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore in Lyndon B. Johnson in 1963 on Air Force One following John F. Kennedy's assassination; 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.

Biden used his family's Bible for the swearing in and will use the same Bible for his swearing in tomorrow.  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."

  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBS News' senior political editor.