One’s oath of office is not to be taken lightly. It forms the cornerstone upon which our Constitution, “the supreme Law of the Land,” sustains our nation.
The United States of America has seven federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10, and subsequently structured and organized by Title 10, Title 14, Title 32 and Title 42 of the United States Code.
The seven uniformed services are defined by 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(5):
The term “uniformed services” means—
(B) the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and
(C) the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service.
The five uniformed services that make up the United States Armed Forces are defined in the previous clause 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(4). The term “armed forces” means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
As a member and commissioned officer of the United States Armed Forces, specifically the U.S. Air Force, I took the following oath of office in 1989:
I, [name], 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.
One’s oath of office contains no expiration date. Like my commission, conferred on me by President George H. W. Bush in 1989, my oath of office never expires.
Four other groups of people take precisely the same oath: Law enforcement officers, civil officers, judges and Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the President of the United States of America.
The oath of office for law enforcement officers and civil officers, including every executive, legislative, and judicial officer, regardless of whether they serve at the local, county, state, or federal level, is the same as that for the federal uniformed services.
Furthermore, each justice or judge of the United States takes an additional oath commensurate with their special authority, specifically, the following oath or affirmation before performing the duties of his office:
“I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as ___ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.” – 28 U.S. Code § 453 – Oaths of justices and judges
Finally, the President of the United States of America:
“Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” – Article II, Section 1, Constitution for the United States of America
As to what all this means, how and why one’s adherence to one’s oath of office is the glue of loyalty which holds our nation together, merely type “oath of office” into the Search window on this website. 🙂
The short version, however, is that when everyone in a position of authority who takes an oath of office actually follows their oath of office, including taking the steps to ensure they know the U.S. Constitution through and through, as well as all application local, county, state, federal, and military law germain to their duty and position of responsibility, then you have a country that is united behind a single, common, purpose, standing firm on a 200+ year old foundation of law respected around the world.
There is no firmer nor finer place to be.