1. What’s supposed to happen?
On Wednesday, January 20 at noon, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take the Oath of Office on the steps of the Capitol. This is the same building where the riots took place last week. Things will get started at about 11:30am and can be seen here.
2. What security measures are being taken?
3. What happens if things go wrong?
Unfortunately, there’s still concern about attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s election. Although many sources of disinfo have been removed from social media, there are still places online for people to share messages coordinating plans to cause problems.
In the unlikely event that Biden is killed before he can take office, there are plenty of provisions in place. If Biden dies, Harris is sworn in; if both die, Pelosi becomes the President. All of this is highly unlikely, especially considering the heightened security at the Capitol, but it’s important to remember that there’s a plan for every situation.
4. What about the Insurrection Act, or martial law?
The Insurrection Act lets the President call in the military to suppress violence. There are rumors that Trump has “signed the Insurrection Act.” They are not true. It was invoked in 1989 when there was looting in the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Hugo, and again in 1992 during the Rodney King unrest. It’s nowhere to be found in 2021.
“Martial law” is a sort of scary term that has no legal definition. It’s used to imply that the President is going to deploy the military in a coup. So far there’s no evidence that Trump (or Biden, for that matter) have any plans to do this.