ACLU sues over court oaths
dcruz at law.usc.edu
Thu Jul 28 09:44:17 PDT 2005
On Thu, 28 Jul 2005, Gene Garman wrote:
> Article 6 is clearly stated and very specific:
> (3) "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."
> It makes no difference as to what a state constitution says, under the
> United States, there is to be no "religious" test for any "office or
> public trust." To overlook the Constitution is ridiculous. "Holy
> Scriptures" relate to religion and their use in any ceremony respecting
> any "office or public trust" is an outright violation of the Constitution.
Set aside the question whether or not someone testifying as a witness in
state court holds an "Office or public Trust under the United States"
within the meaning of Art. VI cl. 3. If a state offers a *choice* of a
religious oath or a secular affirmation, does that count as "requir[ing]"
a religious test? I would think not (so long as no person, of faith or
otherwise, was precluded from making the secular affirmation). So I don't
think Gene Garman's "just the text, Ma'am" argument works here.
David B. Cruz
Professor of Law
University of Southern California Law School
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0071
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