Friday, March 19, 2010

The Oath of Office

Every United States Representative upon entering Congress after their election (or re-election) is administered the oath of office. The oath, once a much simpler fourteen words, was expanded in the days following the beginning of the Civil War in order to impress upon these elected officials the seriousness of their duties and responsibilities as legislators:
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.
In the past few days, many words have been written about the move by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to act upon the recommendation of Rep. Louise Slaughter and her Rules Committee to "deem passed" the Senate bill rather than have the members of the House actually vote upon it.

Forgive me, but I can't help wondering whether anyone else recognizes this act as a direct violation of the congressional Oath of Office. Being curious, I undertook to do a bit of research and found this nugget on the "Friends of Article V" web site:
5 U.S.C. 3333 requires members of Congress sign an affidavit that they have taken the oath of office required by 5 U.S.C. 3331 and have not or will not violate that oath of office during their tenure of office as defined by the third part of the law, 5 U.S.C. 7311 which explicitly makes it a federal criminal offense (and a violation of oath of office) for anyone employed in the United States Government (including members of Congress) to “advocate the overthrow of our constitutional form of government”. The fourth federal law, 18 U.S.C. 1918 provides penalties for violation of oath office described in 5 U.S.C. 7311 which include: (1) removal from office and; (2) confinement or a fine.
If I'm not mistaken, encouraging members of Congress to "deem passed" such a major piece of legislation which is, after all, the cornerstone of President Obama's entire domestic policy, appears to "advocate the overthrow of our constitutional form of government." And if that is true, then certainly it would not be improper to seek the immediate removal of Nancy Pelosi, Louise Slaughter, and every single Representative who allows this blatant violation of the Constitution to take place.

Should the House of Representatives follow the recommendations of Slaughter's committee, I hope someone will have the courage to begin impeachment proceedings against, at a minimum, Pelosi and Slaughter. By extension, anyone who likewise supports this action should also be held equally accountable for their own perfidies.

That about sums up my feelings on this one.

No comments: