Oath of office

Primary tabs

An oath of office is a promise made by an individual they will uphold and fulfill certain requirements and obligations of a position that they were either elected or appointed to. Oaths of office are required of those who hold government positions and can also be required by other organizations. In the United States, the oath of office for the President is governed by Article II, Section 1, Clause 8 of the Constitution. The President must say the following before taking office: “I do solemly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

For any government positions except for the President, the oath of office governed by 5 U.S. Code § 3331. Every individual must say the following: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” According to the article “Oath of Office” from the U.S. House of Representatives, this has been the oath of office since 1966. For a further discussion on the history of oaths of office and how they are conducted amongst main branches of government, see here for the Senate, here for the House of Representatives, and here for the Supreme Court.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]