Rep. Eshoo Introduces Legislation to Change Congressional Oath of Office

December 23, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) announced today that she will introduce legislation to update the Congressional oath of office to include a pledge to put the Constitution above any person or political party.

“Over 156 million Americans made their voices heard in this year’s election and a majority of them chose a new president. Yet many Members of Congress have disregarded their oath by refusing to accept the results of the election by signing an amicus brief to a lawsuit seeking to overturn the election,” said Rep. Eshoo. “This is the first time in our nation’s history that a majority of a major party have sought to overthrow an election. This is an attack on our constitutional system of government and a violation of the Congressional oath of office because it puts loyalty to the president over the will of the people.”

Background

At the beginning of every new Congress, Members take an oath and swear to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The Constitution requires every Member to take an oath to support the Constitution, but it leaves the precise wording for Congress to determine. The Supreme Court has said that Congress can add any additional pledges it deems appropriate, and the oath has been amended several times in our country’s history, most notably during the Civil War when many Members abandoned their oath to join the Confederacy.

Rep. Eshoo’s legislation amends the Congressional oath of office to require every Member of Congress to swear to put their obligation to the Constitution before that of any person or political party. The new oath of office reads as follows (addition in bold):

“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 place this obligation above that to any individual, political party, or faction; 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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