Future Tense

For the First Time a U.S. Ambassador Was Sworn in on a Kindle

The hallowed eConstitution.

Photo from the U.S. Embassy London.

When you read your Kindle before bed it probably seems like a benign activity. An e-reader doesn’t exactly have a dignified air. But be careful, because you could unintentionally take the ambassador’s oath on that thing.

OK, maybe it couldn’t happen by accident, but it can apparently happen these days. On Monday, the American representative to Switzerland, Suzi LeVine, put her hand on a Kindle Touch and was sworn in on a digital copy of the U.S. Constitution. The page showing on the screen was the 19th Amendment, which says that citizens can’t be barred from voting because of their sex.

E-readers are a growing trend for oath-taking. As the Washington Post points out, firefighters in New Jersey were sworn in on an iPad version of the Bible last year because the firehouse’s IRL Bible had gone missing. LeVine worked at Microsoft from 1993 to 1999 and again from 2009 to 2012, and also did a stint at Expedia from 2003 to 2005, so she probably wasn’t fazed. How long until the president is sworn in on a smartphone?