Why aren't people required to swear on the Constitution in court?

Pretty simple question. Why should the bible be used?

I would much rather swear on the Constitution myself.  

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Interesting concept.  The ONLY place I've seen it used was the movie, Airplane II!

Bro ... was ONNN, didn't trip!  But the folks was Freakin', see, and the pilots, they wuz laid to the bone!

"I don't think anyone should be required to swear on anything."

Only in the movies and on TV.

Anybody can "affirm" an oath to tell the truth (though it's best to inform the court of preference before proceedings start to avoid risking contempt charges from the more …bigoted judges).

This purely secular form of oath taking doesn't require any book. As the Constitution isn't in any way "sacred" as would be a religious document, one can't "swear" an oath on it, as they could with a bible, talmud or quran.

Richard Wald wrote: "As the Constitution isn't in any way "sacred" as would be a religious document, one can't "swear" an oath on it, as they could with a bible, talmud or quran."


I think that it all depends on who the person is and what he/she considers "sacred".  To me the bible or any religious documents are not considered "sacred"; especially if one uses said document as a "religious" document!

Now, if someone would want to introduce the bible or church documents for proof of history!  I would consider the document to be "sacred" because of the historical values proving actual events or news!

So, no!  If I was ever called to a court room to swear on a bible or to any god that I will tell the truth; "I will say, "I will not!"  Because, I am an Atheist.


I say will pull out a circa 1975 copy of Mad Magazine.  Swear on it while all along playing the square vinyl record that came in that issue!

It certainly is more sacred than the bible!  Lol!

I agree pat.

I completely agree, as a nation and in the situation of federal court, the Constitution should be our most sacred article to swear by. This would be the real separation of church and state.
I have recently appeared in court in the uk and we are given an option before proceedings. I was the only person not to swear on the bible. Funny thing is that the accused swore on it and lied like a fucker.

I can believe that alistair.

I would request not to swear on the bible myself.

I have served on several juries and testified in court a number of times and have never been required to swear on a Bible. A choice to affirm is always offered nowadays. Many courts do not even bother asking, simply saying "Do you swear or affirm that…

You may be surprised to know that even the President of the United States taking his oath of office is permitted to affirm. The words of the Constitution in Section I of Article II are that "he shall take the following oath or affirmation." The reason for this is that Quakers do not take oaths, based on Matthew 5 where Christ says "Do not swear at all."

In most swearing-in ceremonies the phrase: "Do you swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States" is a part of it.  Why not swear in with your hand on a copy of the Constitution?  It's also part of the military's swearing in. There are other parts of the swearing-in that refer to the specific duties of an office but are secondary to upholding the Constitution.

A significant portion of public officials could be charged with failing to adhere to that part of the oath of office. 

Yes, though in the military oath is the (optional) "so help me God," which I omitted every time I re-enlisted.

Like I omit "under god" in the Pledge or are you given that option?

In which branch of the military did you serve?  I did four years in USAF as a lowly AGE repairman.

Pat has the legal take on this subject, and you have an important question here. I would like to see bible swearing removed myself. It gives importance to a book of fiction.




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