I Swear, or Sorta Swear

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Taxed
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I Swear, or Sorta Swear

Postby Taxed » Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:49 am

Pardon me Alder Konkel, but the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Wisconsin are not smorgasbords. The pledge you take requires your support and defense of each, and you do not have a line-item veto on the oath you are required to take to serve in office.

I think the referendums approved by the voters in November are reflections of fear and a host of other unjust and primitive emotions, and it is sad to see that voters in our state approved them. However it is the way our system works. You can help reverse the amendment within the framework of our laws. You expect this same adherence to the process in the case of those who lobby the CC for example. Laws are laws until they are changed.

Your cause and goals are just in my opinion, but once again your passion is polluting your political instincts and overriding whatever level of common sense you possess. Pledge to reverse the action taken by the stateâ??s voters, but keep that pledge separate from the oath you take.

Ed Breakfast
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Postby Ed Breakfast » Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:55 am

Huh? Some context would be helpful.

Taxed
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Postby Taxed » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:02 pm

Ed Breakfast wrote:Huh? Some context would be helpful.
Front page of yesterday's WSJ. Brenda wants to allow city officials to take oath of office under protest because constitution they are swearing to uphold now contains the marriage ban amendment. Sorry, assumed everyone visiting this section of TDP would know.

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Postby Dulouz » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:27 pm

Taxed wrote:
Ed Breakfast wrote:Huh? Some context would be helpful.
Front page of yesterday's WSJ. Brenda wants to allow city officials to take oath of office under protest because constitution they are swearing to uphold now contains the marriage ban amendment. Sorry, assumed everyone visiting this section of TDP would know.


We at least know that your misrepresenting the position the position taken by Konkel and others is par for the course. The proposal allows individuals to add to the oath a commitment to change the WI constitution and work against discrimination. Oh, the horror!

In no way does the proposed addition delete or withdraw from the basic duty of City officials (including those volunteer citizens on committees and commissions) to uphold and defend the US and WI constitution.

bluethedog
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Postby bluethedog » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:37 pm

Here is the article.

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Postby chance » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:48 pm

The applicable statute (sec. 19.01) requires that every official oath has to be executed in writing, and it says that every oath "shall be in substantially the following form:"
"I, the undersigned, who have been elected (or appointed) to the office of ...., but have not yet entered upon the duties thereof, swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Wisconsin, and will faithfully discharge the duties of said office to the best of my ability. So help me God.
.... ....,
Subscribed and sworn to before me this .... day of ...., .... (year)....
(Signature)....,"

If the oath is taken orally in addition to being signed (it always has to be done in writing, but can also be done orally as a ceremonial add-on), it "shall be in substantially the following form:"
"I, ...., swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Wisconsin, and will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office of .... to the best of my ability. So help me God."

So, where/when in these oaths are people going to work in their statement of opposition to the same-sex marriage ban? If they just tack it on afterwards, then in fact they're not really changing or avoiding anything in the oath per se. But if they stick it in the oath, they are tinkering with it -- which they're not allowed to do and still have it satisfy the requirement.

It will be interesting what the City Attorney has to say about the legality of this.

Ed Breakfast
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Postby Ed Breakfast » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:51 pm

While we're at it, can we get that "So help me God" out of there? Is it optional?

robbie webber
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Postby robbie webber » Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:11 pm

Although I have not seen the proposal yet - it will come out on Friday - my understanding is that the additional statement will be after the oath of office.

State law requires that all local elected officials, as well as citizens serving on committees and commissions, swear to uphold the constitutions of the US and State of Wisconsin. However, it does not say additional statements cannot be added.

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Postby Brenda Konkel » Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:30 pm

Here's where the language should be. The link is currently flawed but hopefully fixed soon. The missing language says:

I pledge to work to eliminate this section from the Constitution and work to prevent any discriminatory impacts from its application.

Sponsored by . . . .Brian Benford, Austin W. King, Brenda K. Konkel, David J. Cieslewicz, Michael E. Verveer, Zachariah Brandon, Judy K. Olson

I have no clue why only my name was mentioned in the WSJ article, perhaps to raise the ire of the conservaties?

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Postby pulseCzar » Thu Jan 11, 2007 4:46 pm

It's kind of like one of Bush's signing statements. Nifty!

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Postby thewheel » Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:59 pm

pulseCzar wrote:It's kind of like one of Bush's signing statements. Nifty!


Vowing to change something is just so much like stating that you have the power to ignore it.

Wake Up!

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Postby Korrigan » Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:15 pm

Actually, the Constitution(s) both contain the instructions for how to change their respective selves. So vowing to work to follow those very instructions is indeed upholding them, isn't it?

I always wonder when state legislators cut off public debate at hearings, aren't they failing to uphold the Constitutional rights to free speech?

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Postby MPMay » Fri Jan 12, 2007 6:17 am

It will be interesting what the City Attorney has to say about the legality of this


All public officials have to take the oath and it has to be in substantially the form in the statutes. That is being required in Madison, and the form of the oath cannot and will not be changed.

Once that is accomplished, we are outside the realm of legal issues and into political ones. What sort of political statement a public official wants to make after signing or taking the oath is simply that, a political issue. I would note that the making of such statements has a long history in American politics; when a President or Governor makes one of these post-oath statements, it is called an Inaugural Address.

Theoretically, I suppose some legal issue might be raised if a public official took the oath and then "renounced" or took back the oath in the post-oath political statement. But this proposed political statement doesn't even come close to that level.

And that is about all there is as far as the legal issues. The other issues, including whether this sort of proposal is a good thing or bad thing, are, as I noted above, political issues -- which I'm certain will be debated!

MPMAY

Brenda Konkel
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Postby Brenda Konkel » Fri Jan 12, 2007 7:33 am

I think it goes beyond politics, it is also a moral and ethical issue. If you swear to uphold the constitution and know you disagree with a major issue within it, isn't that problematic in an ethical and moral sense. If anything, this statement leads to transparency in government.

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Postby chance » Fri Jan 12, 2007 8:12 am

MPMay wrote: All public officials have to take the oath and it has to be in substantially the form in the statutes. That is being required in Madison, and the form of the oath cannot and will not be changed.

Once that is accomplished, we are outside the realm of legal issues and into political ones. What sort of political statement a public official wants to make after signing or taking the oath is simply that, a political issue. . .

Given Mike May's explanation, it is apparent that this is all just a tempest in a teapot.

Everybody is going to sign and take the regular oath. Then they're just going to say some stuff after taking it.

Given that, what I don't understand is why this even required any official action at all. Anybody taking an oath has always had the right to say something additional after taking it. City council action allowing or approving this was not and is not necessary. This whole thing seems really just to be in the nature of grandstanding.


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