Definition

Share this Post

Solemn pledge equivalent to an oath but without reference to a supreme being or to swearing

BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 1176 (9th ed. 2009)

  • Connector.

    When an appellate court says that the lower court’s decision was right.

    California Superior Court. “English Legal Glossary” (2005)

  • Connector.

    Affirmation is a solemn and formal declaration under penalties of perjury that a statement is true, without an oath.

    New York State Unified Court System. “Glossary of Legal Terms” (2016)

  • Connector.

    Affirmation is an appellate court’s conclusion that a lower court’s decision is allowed to stand.

    Drogin, Eric Y., et al. Handbook of forensic assessment: Psychological and psychiatric perspectives. Vol. 209. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

  • Connector.

    One way to promise that a statement made by a witness in court or in an affidavit is true. The other way is to swear an oath on the Bible or other holy book. People who cannot swear an oath because it would be against their religion, or because they have no religious belief, can make an affirmation instead. See also affidavit.

    Victoria Law Foundation. “Legal glossary” (2015)


The legal effect of both an oath and an affirmation is to subject the person giving testimony to “the penalties for perjury” if the testimony is false. Today, affirmations are generally regarded to be equal in weight with oaths.

Determining precisely what the Oath or Affirmation Clause requires is necessary to ensure that electronic warrant systems comply with the Fourth Amendment. In interpreting the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court has stated that it is appropriate to determine how the language of the amendment would be interpreted within its original meaning. The text of the Fourth Amendment itself does not provide any clues for the content or form of an oath or affirmation. Therefore, in interpreting what the requirement entails, it is appropriate to “begin with history,” and, in particular, “the statutes and common law of the founding era.”

Bean, Andrew H. “Swearing by New Technology: Strengthening the Fourth Amendment by Utilizing Modern Warrant Technology While Satisfying the Oath or Affirmation Clause.” BYU L. Rev. (2014): 927.