A Modern Tradition for Congress: The Annual Reading of the Constitution on the House Floor

Under Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution, members of Congress must swear an oath to support the Constitution –

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution[.]

Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code sets out the oath each member of Congress must swear or affirm to before taking office –

“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.”

In 2011, for the first time in the history of the House of Representatives, the full text of the Constitution was read aloud. The annual tradition has continued ever since. You can watch this year’s annual reading here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?420996-1/us-house-members-read-us-constitution.

This is an excellent opportunity to take a moment to read the Constitution and explore its history. I invite you to do both by visiting http://www.ConSource.org


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