Wednesday, October 18, 2023

1870 Grand Jury Charge on Section Three and Constitutional Oaths

Gerard N. Magliocca

Another argument in the Section Three debate is whether the President is excluded because he takes an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend" the Constitution and not to "support" the Constitution as Section 3 says. Here is what a federal circuit judge told a Tennessee grand jury about that sort of argument in 1870:

The oath which shall have been taken need not be in the precise words of the [Fourteenth] amendment: "To support the Constitution of the United States." That instrument, article six, section 3, provides that all officers, executive and judicial, both of the States and of the United States, shall be sworn in support of the Constitution of the United States. Under this provision there has been slight differences in the forms of these oaths, but all are conceded to comply with it when substantially, though not literally, they include an obligation to the Federal power. You will make no criticism, therefore, of this kind, but assume that all oaths are sufficient where the officer has been sworn into office in the usual form adopted in this state.  


Post a Comment

Older Posts
Newer Posts