Songs and Oaths:
In the Federal Government, in order for an official to take office, he or she must first take the oath of office. The official reciting the oath swears an allegiance to uphold the Constitution.
The Constitution only specifies an oath of office for the President; however, Article VI of the Constitution states that other officials, including members of Congress, "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution."
The following includes oath information for high ranking officials from each of the three branches of Government.
President of the United States (Executive Branch)
According to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, a President's term of office begins at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on January 20th of the year following an election. In order to assume his/her duties, the President-elect must recite the Oath of Office. The Oath is administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The President-elect places his hand on the Bible, raises his right hand, and takes the Oath as directed by the Chief Justice. The Oath, as stated in Article II, Section I, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, is as follows:
Vice President of the United States (Executive Branch)
The Vice President also takes an oath of office. Until 1933, the Vice President took the oath of office in the Senate. Today, both the President and Vice President are inaugurated in the same ceremony. The Vice President's oath is administered immediately before the President's. The Vice President's oath may be administered by the retiring vice president, by a member of Congress, or by some other government official, such as a justice of the Supreme Court. The Vice President's oath is as follows:
Members of Congress (Legislative Branch)
At the start of each new Congress, in January of every odd-numbered year, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate takes an oath of office. The Speaker of the House will direct the Members to rise and the oath is administered. The original oath was as follows: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States."
The oath was revised during the Civil War, when members of Congress were concerned about traitors. The current oath is as follows:
Supreme Court Justices (Judicial Branch)
According to Title 28, Chapter I, Part 453 of the United States Code, each Supreme Court Justice takes the following oath:
To learn more, check out the following resources: