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Plaintiffs' Refusal to Swear Under Oath

Court rules that lawsuit cannot be dismissed because of a plaintiff's refusal to swear under oath.


• Can a court dismiss a lawsuit because the plaintiff refuses, on religious grounds, to swear that her testimony would be truthful? No, said a federal appeals court. A woman brought a tax appeal before the Tax Court. However, she refused to "swear" or "affirm" under oath before testifying. Her objection to oaths and affirmations was based on two Biblical passages, Matthew 5:33-37, and James 5:12. The first passages says, in part, "But I say unto you, swear not at all … but let your communication be yea, yea, or nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." The second passage says, "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay, lest you fall into condemnation." The woman claimed that these passages prohibit both swearing of oaths and affirmations in a ...

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  • March 2, 1992

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