Before entering upon the execution of his office, the President is constitutionally required to take the following oath or affirmation: "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 making of this oath or affirmation marks the induction into office. The requirement that it shall be taken is undoubtedly dictated by the belief that thus an additional moral obligation will be placed upon the one taking it. That it adds no new legal obligation would follow from the fact that, beyond doubt, were this oath or affirmation not required, the President like all other public officers would be equally liable for any misfeasance or nonfeasance of duty. It would seem equally true that the taking of this oath or affirmation, in pursuance of a constitutional requirement, confers no powers upon the President. Jefferson and Jackson, indeed, referred to this oath as supporting them in their contention that with reference to the performance of their constitutional duties they, as being sworn to support the Constitution, might interpret finally for themselves, the meaning of its provision ; but their position was unquestionably a false one.