Removal of the Requirement of Loyalty Pledges from State Employees and Support for SB 1322 (Lowenthal. Communism.)

AS-2856-08/FGA/FA

ATTACHMENT TO AS-2856-08/FGA/FA

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU urge the legislature to take such action as necessary to eliminate the requirement of loyalty pledges from state employees other than public officials; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate California State University (CSU) support SB 1322 (Lowenthal. Communism.) that would among other things, according to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, delete the current requirement that a public employee answer, under oath, specified questions, including, but not limited to, knowing membership in an organization advocating the forceful or violent overthrow of the government of the United States or of any state; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU urge the state legislature to place before the voters an amendment repealing Article XX, Section 3, replacing it with the former 1849 standard oath of allegiance required of public officials; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU forward copies of this resolution to all Senators and Members of the Assembly in the Legislature of the State of California.

RATIONALE: As pointed out in the resolution of the California State University Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association on this topic:

For more than 100 years beginning in 1849, the California Constitution contained an oath of office for public officials (but not all public employees) that read as follows: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of_______, according to the best of my ability".

In a climate of fear and suspicion characteristic of the Cold War years, in 1952 Assemblyman Harold Levering put before the voters as a Constitutional Amendment a loyalty oath for all public employees, changing the oath to read as follows: "I _______, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter," which was passed by the voters.

The same 1952 Levering oath contained a second clause requiring a public employee to swear that he/she had not been a member of an organization that advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government. In 1967, this was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court but it remains in the state constitution. Such loyalty oaths are an anachronism remaining from Cold War days, serve no purpose in providing national security, and are counter in spirit to the free speech guarantees in the U.S. Bill of Rights.

The Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times, two of the most influential newspapers in the state, have called upon the state legislature to repeal all legislation passed during the Cold War era requiring loyalty oaths of state employees.

Approved Unanimously May 8-9, 2008



 
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