Random find: Arizona’s loyalty oath

By Craig McDermott, crossposted from Random Musings

Oh, the things you find when you aren’t looking for them…

While doing some regular general research, I came across this interesting nugget on the website of the Arizona Secretary of State –

 

 

 

 

Arizona has a loyalty oath?

Curious as to what officeholders in AZ have to swear to be loyal to, I opened up the form on the SOS’ website, expecting something from the McCarthy era.  It wasn’t quite that bad, but…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, it’s pretty much boilerplate stuff, basically very mundane.

But I noticed one thing, a significant omission.  Do you see it?

Here, let me help –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quoting the highlighted text:

…I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the State of Arizona…

Based on this oath, for Arizona officeholders, supporting (and protecting and defending, and ?obeying?) federal laws is optional.

 

Yes, it’s just another way that the neo-secessionists at the state capitol can thumb their noses at civil society in general and the federal government in particular.

But, on the bright side, doesn’t the phrasing of that oath mean that when the Republican leadership at the Capitol (including the governor, leadership of the lege, and their staffers/lackeys), by their brazen refusal to follow Arizona law, and a court order to do so, and properly fund the state’s education system, they have, in effect

 

Voluntarily resigned their positions?

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I’m thinking logically, and while I’m not a lawyer, I know enough about the law to know that it can rarely be described as “logical”.

 

Note: this isn’t something thought up solely by Arizona’s Secretary of State, Michelle Reagan; it’s part of Arizona state law.

And per that law, it applies to “any person elected, appointed or employed, either on a part-time or full-time basis, by this state or any of its political subdivisions or any county, city, town, municipal corporation, school district, public educational institution or any board, commission or agency of any county, city, town, municipal corporation, school district or public educational institution.”

5 Responses to Random find: Arizona’s loyalty oath

  1. This loyalty oath used to be required of ALL state employees. In its original form before a lawsuit, I believe, forced them to add the bit about the Constitution to make it legal, the swearing was to the State of Arizona, period. I know I was forced to sign that piece of s@:! Many years ago as a student at one of our Universities. A few years later the lawsuit forced them to gratioisly allow that the Constition of the U.S. should be superior to the Constitution of Arizona. I can’t remember the exact year that change came in only that I was disappointed that McCarthy inspired crap was still allowed to be required in order to get a freakin’ minimum wage paycheck from the State. I don’t know if it is still required but I doubt it has been repealed.

  2. ken jacobsen

    This is another warmed over holdover from the McCarthy era, and another embarrassment to the state of Arizona.

    People who sign it are swearing to defend AZ’s laws, including SB1070 and a heaping pile of similar dreck, “from all attackers, foreign and domestic.” That means they are swearing to defend them against anybody who opposes any of those laws.

    If enough people refuse to sign it, it will simply go away because it is both unconstitutional and unenforceable.

  3. Welcome to Arizona, where the powers-that-be at the state capitol view the US Constitution as something to be worshiped as an abstract concept, but view the byproducts of it, like civil rights and federal laws, as something to be reviled.

  4. Since the Constitution supersedes and is the source of all federal law, technically swearing to uphold the Constitution implies following the laws.

  5. Elizabeth Hendrickson

    Egads! I remember having to sign this as a teacher and found it baffling. Would signing a loyalty oath prevent someone from committing a crime or ignoring moral or ethical boundaries? “Rats! I was going to steal the kids lunch money but I can’t because I signed a loyalty oath?” Robert Feldman’s wonderful book, The Liar in Your Life, covers the reason that oaths and promises don’t change people’s behavior; people will break an oath if they believe they won’t get caught. No, surprise there. What’s next? Lie detector tests? Only if it would line the pockets of someone with political influence.