Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Oath of Office

Senator Dodd:

Imagine if you will interviewing an applicant for a job opening you have. The first question you might ask is whether the applicant understands the job description. Let's imagine this applicant fails to understand even the most basic requirements of the job. You would be surprised, perhaps confused, as to why the applicant wasted everyone's time by failing to do even rudimentary research.

So you should understand my surprise, and my disappointment, when you failed to grasp the job description for the job you currently seek. To wit, in the debate tonight, you stated that "When you take the oath of office, on January 20, you promise to do two things, and that is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and protect our country against enemies, both foreign and domestic. The security of the country is number one."

Sir, Article II, §1 of the Constitution lays out very simply the job description--the oath of office--as such: "I do solemnly 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." The President has but one duty, and that is to defend the Constitution. While the argument can be successfully and articulately made that national security is a component of defending the Constitution from its enemies, it is not the chief objective. This is not an issue of vague language or unclear intent by the founders. The Constitution is unambiguous on its supremacy. Article VI states, plainly, that "This Constitution . . . shall be the supreme law of the land." Were the values of the Constitution to come in conflict with national security goals, then the Constitution, and the Oath of Office, make clear which choice the President must make.

Security, sir, is emphatically not "number one," The Constitution is. I hope that going forward you take some time to read it, with particular attention to Article II. Should the people choose to elect you, it will be your job to uphold that document--and no other.

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