Oath of Office

The other day I skimmed through the news and ran into this comment by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee:

“If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones.  Which is really the danger.  That’s why I keep, and thank you for saying it by the way, I mean we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.”

Here is the video.  The quote comes at the 18 minute 18 seconds mark. The entire video is worth watching as he makes other statements.

Reading over the oath of office as required by Article VI, Clause 3 of the US Constitution and set out in 5 U. S. C. § 3331; that federal officials, except the President and Supreme Court take, I do not see where it says anything about the role of congress being to protect the President. Here is the oath:

“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.”

Below are all of the oaths of office from the federal level.

The President

Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution states: Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

“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.”

All other Federal Officials:

Article VI, Clause 3 states:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The first congress passed an oath act in 1789. Congress changed the oath  several times until 1884. Since then the oath of office set out at 5 U. S. C. § 3331 has been:

“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.”

Supreme Court Justices

From 1789 to 1990, the original text used for this oath (1 Stat. 76 § 8) was:

“I, _________, 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 _________, according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

The Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 replaced the phrase “according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably to the Constitution” with “under the Constitution.” The revised Judicial Oath, found at 28 U. S. C. § 453, reads:

“I, _________, 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 _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

Sometimes they take a combined oath:

“I, _________, 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 _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States; and 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.”

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