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Chief Justice at work — tomorrow

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., will take another oath of office on Monday, but that is a mere formality: he is now a fully functioning Chief Justice with all the authority of the office, after taking two oaths at the White House Thursday afternoon. He will go to work at the Court for the first time on Friday.

New members of the Court take what is called a Constitutional Oath and a separate Judicial Oath. Both were administered to the new Chief Justice at the White House: the first in a public ceremony, and the second in private with only the other eight Justices and Roberts’ family attending. The senior Associate Justice, John Paul Stevens, swore him in. On Monday, Roberts will again take the Judicial Oath in an invitation-only “investiture” ceremony in the Courtroom, starting at 9:15 a.m.

The Court said that Roberts took both oaths Thursday so that he “could begin work immediately in preparation for the opening of the Court’s Term on Monday.”

Hearings on granted cases will begin at 10:30 a.m., a half-hour later than the usual starting time. The Court is also expected to issue a lengthy list of orders on new cases — primarily, if not exclusively, denying review of new appeals. Presumably, the orders will be issued when the Justices go to the bench, and their release will be Roberts’ first official public act as Chief Justice.

At the White House ceremony, Roberts said he will start work Friday. Although Senate approval of his nomination to be Chief Justice has been a virtual certainty for weeks, Roberts has not been at the Court to do any work pending final Senate approval. The Senate voted 78-22 to confirm him shortly before noon Thursday. All of the No votes were cast by Democrats.

(The transcript of remarks by Roberts and by President Bush at the White House can be found here.)