September 30, 2004  ·  Lessig

Bruce Ackerman has an interesting piece in the American Prospect about the oath Rumsfeld asked the civilians sworn to review the judgments reaching by the Guantanamo Bay commission: “Does each one of you swear that you will faithfully and impartially perform according to your conscience and the rules applicable to the review filed by a military commission all the duties incumbent upon you as a member of the review panel, so help you God?” “God” is central; the Constitution is forgotten. A metaphor for too much these past few years.

  • http://xuande.livejournal.com/ Philip Brooks

    What exactly does the location “so help you God” mean, anyway?

  • http://xuande.livejournal.com/ Philip Brooks

    Locution, even.

  • http://blogs.sun.com/MortazaviBlog M. Mortazavi

    The music is surprisingly good. Perhaps we need some more punk to unravel the mechanics of the mind. There are others who’re also innovating in lyrics and music but we rarely hear from them. Musical innovation certainly requires a great deal of re-mixing.

  • Mojo

    So even the President can choose to affirm rather than swear during his inauguration but those who work for Rumsfeld darn well better swear to God? It’s amazing how modern conservatives know more about what the founders would have wanted than the founders did.

  • ob1

    and in the meantime, God gets bad press because of all the whackos wanting to add him into their equations… :-)

  • Max Lybbert

    Just out of curiosity, what does the usual military justice oath say?

  • Max Lybbert

    For the record, I should worded the previous post “what does the usual oath for military judges say?”

    And, for the record, I moved from California to North Carolina. Here (NC) it’s common for the company picnic, dinner or social activity to include a blessing on the food. Not all “red states” are like that, but I don’t think any of the blue states are (I know California isn’t).

    I do wonder why Arkansas can’t have a monument to the Ten Commandments in its Supreme Court rotunda, but the US Supreme Court’s opening message ends “and God Save this Supreme Court.” I wonder if Arkansas would have been allowed to keep its monument if it were a part of a museum-like exhibit named “examples of ancient laws,” and placed next to other ancient laws (eg., Code of Hammurabi).

  • Max Lybbert

    Third time’s the charm, eh?

    I figured the Constitution fell under “rules applicable to the review” and “all the duties incumbent upon … a member of the review panel.” I would prefer to see the Constitution explicitly mentioned. Even soldiers, who already swore loyalty to the Constitution, do it when they become officers.

  • Max Lybbert

    OK, fourt time’s a charm?

    To Phillip, here’s a tongue-in-cheek essay claiming the legal profession has redefined “so help me God” to mean something entirely different from what you’d espect (like lawyers have done with several other words and phrases).

    I think it comes from a time that people truly got scared when they swore to God.

  • Max Lybbert

    Uh, I’ll stop after this post. I went back to see who wrote that essay, and I’m not sure it’s meant to be tongue in cheek anymore. I took it as sarcasm, though.

    Oh, and now that I think about it, North Carolina used to officially prohibit atheists and Catholics (and I assume Jews) from holding state office. And that was after the siging of the Constitution.

  • http://lifeinaurora.blogspot.com Jason Koulouras

    So much for separation of church and state