The House Judiciary Committee convened a hearing on “gun violence prevention” Wednesday morning, but the proceedings hit a snag when Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) omitted the phrase “So help me God” as he swore in the witnesses.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R.-La.) made a parliamentary inquiry as soon as the witnesses sat down, and Nadler agreed to repeat the oath–including the phrase “So help me God” in the second version he administered
“We welcome all of our distinguished witnesses and thank them for participating in today’s hearing,” Nadler said. “Please rise, and I will begin by swearing you in.”
“Raise your right hands,” Nadler told the witnesses. “Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information and belief?
“Thank you. Let the record show the witnesses answered in the affirmative,” Nadler continued.
“Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman,” interrupted Rep. Mike Johnson. “Point of parliamentary inquiry.”
Nadler, unsure of who raised the point of inquiry, asked, “Who’s that?”
Johnson, sitting at the far end of the dais, said: “We had a conversation on the floor last week, and I just noted you left out ‘So help me God.’”
“Sorry,” Nadler said. “Do you want me to repeat the whole – I will repeat–”
“I would love that. Thank you,” Johnson said.
“Please stand up again,” Nadler told the witnesses, as he repeated the oath, ending with, “So help you God.”
Last week, as Johnson reminded Nadler, Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee proposed a draft rule omitting “So help me God” from the oath given to witnesses. Press reports said Democrats planned to replace the phrase with “under penalty of law.”
Republicans objected, and even some Democrats – including committee member Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) — voted to keep the phrase in the oath.
“I’m a Catholic girl,” Dingell told Fox News at the time, “but I think people are trying to cause some trouble here to divert instead of focusing on what we’re going to do about health care and pre-existing conditions.”