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  • Wednesday, December 08, 2004


    Oath of Office

    While listening to Richard Clarke speak about the title of his book "Against All Enemies," I was reminded of the oath of office taken by many who serve in the federal government. I haven't read his book but I felt compelled to look up Clarke's reference. I looked around at this cute little government kid's site and found this:

    According to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, a President's term of office begins at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on January 20th of the year following an election. In order to assume his/her duties, the President-elect must recite the Oath of Office. The Oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The President-elect places his hand on the Bible, raises his right hand, and takes the Oath as directed by the Chief Justice. The Oath, as stated in Article II, Section I, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, is as follows:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    That didn't include the phrase but the oath for Vice-President and Congresscritters does. For the oaths below, I wonder whether there is any alternative provision for, say, those who may feel that it is sacrilegious to swear to God. I won't even go into the possibility of atheists or Goddess worshippers taking the oath.
    The oath was revised during the Civil War, when members of Congress were concerned about traitors. The current oath is as follows:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

    According to Title 28, Chapter I, Part 453 of the United States Code, each Supreme Court Justice takes the following oath:

    "I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.''

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