Houston, We Have a Problem in Leon County

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Dec. 9 2000 2:22 PM

Houston, We Have a Problem in Leon County

I just listened to the historic swearing-in of the ballot recounters in Leon County. The person leading the ceremony said, "I swear or affirm to uphold the Constitution." So far, so good. But then dozens of voices repeated, "I swear or affirm ..." Problem: You can't just repeat the choices; you have to say "I swear" or "I affirm." The Founders specified that office-takers could either swear or affirm because they worried that devout Christians would be forbidden by their faith from swearing an oath of office. (Jesus taught that it was hypocritical to utter special vows of sincerity, since a person should always say only that which is true; most Christians today shrug this teaching off, if they even know it exists, but in the 18th century, swearing loyalty or sincerity was viewed by thoughtful Christians as offensive.) Thus someone taking public office may either swear to uphold the Constitution or simply affirm such intent. But there's no swear AND affirm option. Don't you realize what this means? The entire recount is legally invalid! They've got to start over!