The third paragraph of Article VI of the Constitution of the United States includes this:

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;

I would guess that "support" does not forbid them to express disagreement with something in the Constitution or to propose that something in it be amended.

I would also guess that it does mean they acknowledge that whatever power and authority they have is subordinate to the federal Constitution.

Doubtless someone somewhere has more than just guesses about this.

  • PS: Might a member of a city council be neither a member of one of the "several State Legislatures" nor an executive or judicial officer? I'd be surprised if they don't also take such oaths. How does their status fit here? (Mayors, on the other hand, would clearly be executive officers of the state.) – Michael Hardy Aug 26 '16 at 18:34
  • There seems to be only one other place in the Constitution where the word "support" appears, in Article I, Section 8, where Congress is granted the power "to raise and support armies", but that has nothing to do with this. – Michael Hardy Aug 26 '16 at 18:35
  • If the Articles of Confederation didn't have this language, well, the AoC wasn't supported by Congress in 1788. – user662852 Aug 26 '16 at 23:26
  • A mayor is the executive officer of a municipality. The municipality is chartered by a state, but that doesn't make the mayor an officer of the state. – phoog Aug 27 '16 at 0:26
  • @MichaelHardy: Your followup question is really completely separate, but it seems to have a clear answer: this provision doesn't require them to take such oaths. Of course, there might be other provisions in federal or state law which do. – Nate Eldredge Aug 27 '16 at 15:03

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