Placed under oath


I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man
Nor ask another man to live for mine.

Question for the late Jon Roland, of Constitutionalism…

Article 6, paragraph 3 of the Constitution states: “but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

On several occasions I have had judges try to put me under oath to work as an officer of the court by asking me to perform to specifications “so help me God.” When I reply that “yes, I will interpret faithfully and accurately with or without help,” I am sometimes questioned, even pressured, to endorse something or someone nobody cares to define or produce evidence of, to act as my assistant

If a judge were to administer an oath endorsing other, equally mysterious helpers such as Allah, Bob, Thor, Minerva, Ra or Krishna, I would bet money and lay odds that the requirement would not pass unchallenged. Indeed, Mennonites and Amish congregants have some sort of objection to oaths per se, and are granted the option of affirming instead, but this sidesteps the issue of helpers lacking tangible credentials or ID being appointed by a particular judge, with those appointments confirmed by a court interpreter acting under what is tantamount to duress or intimidation. 

My question is this: Is there case law or jurisprudence to the effect that interpreters may be required to endorse “God” to assist us in performing interpreting work under oath? 

If there is I would very much like to challenge any such outcome based on the Thirteenth Amendment ban on slavery or involuntary servitude–at least until such time as God is verifiably paid by the courts for assisting in the performance of interpreting services rendered–and taxed on that legal income by the IRS. It hardly seems fair to drag someone into court to work for free as a helper to someone else who is actually getting paid.

Jon replies…

Is there case law or jurisprudence to the effect that interpreters may be required to endorse “God” to assist us in performing interpreting work under oath?

Not at the level of the U.S. Supreme Court, and they are not a proper part of any lawful oath of office. George Washington added the words “so help me God” to his oath, as was commonly done, but that is a gloss, not a requirement, and many sects, such as Quakers, protested enough that it was not an oversight to leave the words out of the Constitution.

Did you know that a witness, though he may be compelled to testify, may not be compelled to take an oath? That means that any false testimony would not be subject to the law of perjury, although it might be to the law of fraud. Traditionally, judges instructed juries to weigh that in considering unsworn testimony, which has not been uncommon in a country where many are not devotees of an Abrahamic faith.

All persons with sworn duties in court, including witnesses, are officers of the court, which is the entire assembly, not just the presiding officer, the judge, who only speaks for the court. Anyone may raise an objection, and should be allowed to participate in argument, not just the attorneys. The rules of parliamentary procedure were developed alongside the rules of courts and a court is just one kind of deliberative assembly.

***

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Brazilian Sci-fi from 1926 featuring the usual beautiful daughter of a scientist touting prohibition and racial collectivism in America’s Black President 2228 by Monteiro Lobato, translated by J Henry Phillips (link)

Three dollars on Amazon Kindle

Brazilian blog

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