Power of Congress in Respect to Oaths

Congress may require no other oath of fidelity to the Constitution, but it may add to this oath such other oath of office as its wisdom may require.178 It may not, however, prescribe a test oath as a qualification for holding office, such an act being in effect an ex post facto law,179 and the same rule holds in the case of the states.180


McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316, 416 (1819). [Back to text]
Ex parte Garland, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 333, 337 (1867). [Back to text]
Cummings v. Missouri, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 277, 323 (1867). See also Bond v. Floyd, 385 U.S. 116 (1966), in which the Supreme Court held that antiwar statements made by a newly elected member of the Georgia House of Representatives were not inconsistent with the oath of office to support to the United States Constitution. [Back to text]