Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Can anyone in the State Legislature explain why a Georgia Supreme Court Justice asked if I was a member of the Communist Party?

I do hereby swear that I am not a member of the Communist Party.

I am not a lawyer but I am guessing the state law below requiring the Loyalty Oath is unenforceable. I am told few municipalities follow the requirement but the City of Dunwoody does require it of all elected officials as it is still on the books.

Who in the Georgia State Legislature wants to drop a bill to remove this out dated requirement?

I can think of at least one municipality and maybe one Supreme Court Justice who would be thankful.  For the record this was never discussed between myself and any sitting member of the GA Supreme Court, though the smirk that was on both of our faces as I was forced to repeat the idiotic words as required by Georgia Law, said more than simple words ever could.

§ 45-3-11 - Loyalty oath -- Persons required to take oath generally
All persons who are employed by and are on the payroll of the state and are the recipients of wages, per diem, or salary of the state or its departments and agencies, with the exception of pages employed by the General Assembly, and all counties and cities, school districts, and local educational systems throughout the entire state, are required to take an oath that they will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia, and that they are not members of the Communist Party.


dpgroupie said...

Wow dude! I just had a flashback of McCarren and McCarthy and it was in black and white!

Now I'm wondering about all the other silly laws still on the Georgia books....

GaryRayBetz said...

John, your reply to the Georgia Supreme Court Justice when he inquired whether you were a member of the Communist Party should have been as the head counsel for the United States Army, Joseph N. Welch, was to Joseph McCarthy back in 1954 -

"Have you no sense of decency, Sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

And don't worry about your association with me. When they sent out their "jackbooted thugs" and strapped me wet and naked to my metal kitchen table chair and interrogated, with each prod of their Tasers on my manhood, if I, an officer of current standing in the Fabian Society, was at all affiliated with John Heneghan. I only admitted to my daughters babysitting your sons, but that all my attempts to seduce you into socialism with Guinness Stout and Jameson Irish Whiskey were thwarted by your life-long abstinence and an outright dismissal of my doctrine.

Then when they inquired if I knew if you had read Marx, I said, "Well, yes, but only when John gets up from sitting in an Adirondack chair. It's the space between the slats that's makes them, you see, on his fair skin."

SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Gotta be the red hair. ;-P

John Heneghan said...

Thank you to Jennifer Leslie of 11 Alive for researching and doing a story on this.


There is a March 8, 1985 opinion from the GA Attorney General, MICHAEL J. BOWERS which states that the portion of the Georgia loyalty oath which requires one to swear to support the Constitution of Georgia and the United States is constitutional and valid and the portion of the Georgia loyalty oath which requires one to disavow membership in the Communist Party is violative of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and should not be administered.

Here is a video of a recent oath administered that dropped the Communist language.


This law should be changed in order to get with the times.

Max said...

Why is the language, "I am not a member of the communist Party," objectionable? I am missing that.

Certain anachronistic laws are harmful, others, not so much. I have no problem if anyone chooses to believe in communism, or even further, if they choose to join the communist party.

Actions have consequences, and being an avowed communist will have ramifications. I have no problem with that either.

I have a large problem with an elected official being a communist, without disclosure. As the law stands, disclosure is unnecessary because of the oath of office.

Help me understand why this oath is an objectionable issue? How does removing this language help us, 'get with the times?'

GaryRayBetz said...

So, it's not OK in Georgia to be a member of the Communist Party but perfectly fine to be a KKK member?

Ay, there's the rub...

Max said...

Fair enough argument, yet hypothetical.

I believe we actually agree on this one, the oath should say, "And I have disclosed all of my political affiliations, to the best of my knowledge," or something close to that.

Disclosure (Transparency)is one of Councilman Heneghan's central and admirable platforms, so adding some sort of transparency language, without naming the Red Peril might be a decent alternative.

dpgroupie said...

Geez. Party affiliation is supposedly an irrelevant component to a Councilperson's ability to do a good and fair job for our City. At least that's what everyone likes to say. It's not appropriate, or relevant, no matter how you slice it. Unless of course, here in Dunwoody, you want to add "or the Democratic party".
Too much peachpundit - now go out and enjoy this beautiful weather.

Abe Tache said...

John: The only oath a public servant should take is the oath to protect and defend the US Constitution. I think it's easier to find a KKK group than to find a Communist Party cell. If we require an oath from the elected official that he is not a member of the Communist Party then we should require the same oath that he is not a member of the KKK, which probably leave the legislatures of several Southern states without a quorum.
To say that it does not matter or hurt anyone is not true. In a democracy all citizens should have the right to run for office regardless of his/her political views. It's up to the voters to decide.
Abe Tache

GaryRayBetz said...

Insightfully and eloquently said, Mr. Abe Tache!

This battle against insidious inanity was already fought and won back in the 1950's by the courageous likes of John Huston, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett, Frederic March, Danny Kaye, the counsel for the United States Army - Joseph N. Welch, Fred Friendly, US Army Secretary Robert Stevens, and Edward R. Murrow against the malicious and scurrilous machinations of Joseph McCarthy, Walter Winchell, and Roy Cohn.

The careers and lives of many good men and women were destroyed by these despicable and pernicious beings until a few brave men and women spoke up!

We don't need to fight this battle again like our public school teachers are currently having to do in other states with the insistence by unenlightened Evangelicals that the separation of church and state be nullified and consequently "unintelligent" design be taught in the Science classes of our children of disparate faiths (or non-faith, if they so choose, as this is - America).