April 11, 2006

Oaths and Pledges

Is the oath that newly elected officials are supposed to recite in Tequesta, FL unconstitutional?

A newly elected village council member is suing the municipality to have the oath of office declared unconstitutional because it supports the federal government, something he says he does not do.

Basil E. Dalack, 76, an appellate lawyer, also wants the words ''and government'' removed from the section that reads, ''I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and government of the United States and of the state of Florida.'' The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court.

The oath violates the Constitution by placing a restraint on Dalack's right to free speech and denies him, without due process, occupancy of his elective office, the lawsuit states.

Well, it may or may not be constitutuional but this question obscures what should be the real issue.

These electected officials are supposed to be public servants, i.e., they serve the citizens of their jurisdiction. It is these citizens to whom they should be swearing oaths of fealty and their oaths should be similar to a proper pledge of allegiance; something like:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the people of [name your jurisdiction], protect their lives, help them maintain their liberty and assist them in their pursuit of happiness.
To the extent that the Constitution and government of Florida and the US match this then, well, they are supportable.

Posted by Steve on April 11, 2006
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