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whc.03grady
01-23-2016, 02:48 AM
Title is the question, basically. I'm talking USA states here.
I don't see anything about it in the Constitution; do any state constitutions allow for (that is, fail to explicitly prohibit) farming out capitalical duties to a town across the river?

Colibri
01-23-2016, 02:55 AM
Given that this would be utterly unimaginable politically, I suspect that no state constitution does so.

They probably don't prohibit the governor being a Martian either.

What possible rationale would there be for having a state capital in another state?

Giles
01-23-2016, 02:59 AM
A county seat need not be within the county. For example, the county seat of Augusta County, Virginia, is in Staunton VA (a separate independent city, entirely surrounded by Augusta County).

Lord Feldon
01-23-2016, 03:03 AM
Ohio (https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/laws/ohio-constitution/section?const=15.01) allows the legislature to relocate the capital by an ordinary law (with it defaulting to Columbus in the absence of that), and it doesn't put any conditions on it.

It would be a bad idea since it would place important things like immunity and security completely in the hands of another state, but I don't know why it would be illegal in the absence of something explicitly prohibiting it.

Given that this would be utterly unimaginable politically, I suspect that no state constitution does so.

They probably don't prohibit the governor being a Martian either.

Some states designate the capital in the constitution. Texas, for example. (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CN/htm/CN.3.htm#3.58)

guizot
01-23-2016, 03:17 AM
A county seat need not be within the county. For example, the county seat of Augusta County, Virginia, is in Staunton VA (a separate independent city, entirely surrounded by Augusta County).What does this mean effectively in terms of administration? That the county seat itself is not subject to the rule of the county? That the sheriff of Augusta has no authority there? Does it have it's own police force, property taxes, etc.? Does it have two separate offices of vital records? (One for Augusta Co., and one for Staunton?)

whc.03grady
01-23-2016, 03:25 AM
Given that this would be utterly unimaginable politically, I suspect that no state constitution does so.

They probably don't prohibit the governor being a Martian either.

What possible rationale would there be for having a state capital in another state?
Is a situation's utter political unimagineability really much of a guarantee that a law won't be passed to address it?

Lord Feldon
01-23-2016, 03:29 AM
That the county seat itself is not subject to the rule of the county?

Yes, because it's not part of the county. The county just happens to own property and office buildings there.

Alley Dweller
01-23-2016, 03:58 AM
What possible rationale would there be for having a state capital in another state? If the people on the east side of the state hated the people on the west side of the state and vice versa, they could compromise and put the capital in neutral territory -- out of state.

Monty
01-23-2016, 04:19 AM
Given that this would be utterly unimaginable politically, I suspect that no state constitution does so.

They probably don't prohibit the governor being a Martian either.

What possible rationale would there be for having a state capital in another state?

It's not unimaginable for me. Daegu is the provincial capital of Gyeongsangbukdo although it's not part of the province. No reason why it couldn't work in the US.

TriPolar
01-23-2016, 05:08 AM
If the people on the east side of the state hated the people on the west side of the state and vice versa, they could compromise and put the capital in neutral territory -- out of state.

Or just put up a wall dividing the city.

jtur88
01-23-2016, 08:09 AM
Is "capital" an official designation, or just a conventional way to refer to the location of the seat of government? Federally, a very large number of US government agencies have their headquarters in Maryland or Virginia, and I think there is even one in West Virginia, and the "summer capital" of the USA is at Camp David, Maryland.

Several countries in the world have multiple capitals, in which the legislature is centered in one city and the judicial in another. Such as Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa. When a nation moves its capital, it mayh take decades to fully transfer the seat of government from one city to another (Nigeria, Cote-d[Ivoire, Kazakhstan).

Granted, those are not US states, but I suspect that there are many states in which there is no enacted law nor constitutional provision that relates to a specific municipal entity needing to be formally proclaimed as "The Capital" and exclusively the venue of any/all government administrative activity. There is certanily nothing to that effect embodied in the US Constitution, which gives the states broad power to regulate such things, such as whether a state even has a capital at all. In fact four states don't even call themselves states, but commonwealths instead.

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 09:10 AM
What does this mean effectively in terms of administration? That the county seat itself is not subject to the rule of the county? That the sheriff of Augusta has no authority there? Does it have it's own police force, property taxes, etc.? Does it have two separate offices of vital records? (One for Augusta Co., and one for Staunton?)


This is the situation with all cities in Virginia. When a city is incorporated, it is jurisdictionally separated from the surrounding county. Every city and every county can offer the full range of departments and services, such as sheriffs and police departments. Virginia cities are thus often referred to as "county-equivalent" entities.

Chronos
01-23-2016, 10:48 AM
One can even imagine a government which had no fixed seat at all. Maybe the governor just sets up office in the building of his or her choice in his or her hometown, or in whatever city is deemed most convenient. Official records might be contracted out to a commercial data center, which might be physically located anywhere in the world, or in a combination of many places. Administrative details like DMV offices already need to be located in many different places in the state, and so on.

guizot
01-23-2016, 10:54 AM
If the people on the east side of the state hated the people on the west side of the state and vice versa, they could compromise and put the capital in neutral territory -- out of state.If they hate each other so much they never should have become a state in the first place.

JRDelirious
01-23-2016, 12:03 PM
Many states bound the capital location constitutionally out of a concern that the government in office could go "on the run" as it were and relocate from session to session somewhere inconvenient in order to limit citizen/minority participation (one of the grievances against Royal rule in the Declaration of Indepencence) or provoke a constructive termination for the employees or direct pork at each current leader's hometown. So the Statehouse is to be located, and the legislature to meet regularly and the governor have his main office, in that specific town/city.

A county seat need not be within the county. For example, the county seat of Augusta County, Virginia, is in Staunton VA (a separate independent city, entirely surrounded by Augusta County).

Meanwhile, in Maryland, the City of Baltimore is wholly independent from Baltimore County and not its county seat, and furthermore Baltimore County does not contain any incorporated municipalities. So saying the large suburb of Towson is the county seat just means that it is where the courthouse and administration building are located.

sbunny8
01-23-2016, 12:14 PM
What possible rationale would there be for having a state capital in another state?

Perhaps it could be a question of having the land available. Consider the fact that many cities have airports that are located several miles away from the city they are named for, often in other counties or even other states. For example, Knoxville TN is in Knox County but the Knoxville Airport (TYS) is in Blount County. And the Cincinnati Airport (CVG) is in Kentucky. Suppose that a crowded city decided it was cheaper to build their capital across the border rather than give up some valuable real estate of their own?

jtur88
01-23-2016, 12:29 PM
Mississippi has ten counties that each have two officially designated county seats. This arose from having divided some counties into two judicial districts. There are a few other 2-seat counties scattered around, New York has one.

Regarding the airports, St. Joseph Missouri's airport is on the Kansas side of the Missouri River. It is stil in Missouri territory, but you have to drive through Kansas to get from St. Joseph to the airport.

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 12:29 PM
Given that this would be utterly unimaginable politically, I suspect that no state constitution does so.

They probably don't prohibit the governor being a Martian either.

What possible rationale would there be for having a state capital in another state?


Well, the city of Chandigarh is in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, of which it is the capital. It is also the capital of both the bordering states of Panjab and Haryana, and it's in neither of those states jurisdictionally.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandigarh

yabob
01-23-2016, 12:43 PM
One can even imagine a government which had no fixed seat at all. Maybe the governor just sets up office in the building of his or her choice in his or her hometown, or in whatever city is deemed most convenient. Official records might be contracted out to a commercial data center, which might be physically located anywhere in the world, or in a combination of many places. Administrative details like DMV offices already need to be located in many different places in the state, and so on.
Interesting, and I suppose you are going to make the legislature operate virtually, too, as well as all bureaucrats who actually perform the day to day running of government departments. I'm afraid it won't fly - all of those people value working by PRIVATE face-to-face personal contact - going to lunch with each other, discussing policy on the golf course, etc. That isn't going to change readily. For one thing, they would be aghast at the idea of not being able to be completely off the record and not in an email server somewhere.

Colibri
01-23-2016, 01:51 PM
Is a situation's utter political unimagineability really much of a guarantee that a law won't be passed to address it?

No, but it makes it extremely unlikely.

If the people on the east side of the state hated the people on the west side of the state and vice versa, they could compromise and put the capital in neutral territory -- out of state.

Being the state capital brings economic benefits to that city. I can't imagine any state government deliberately spending a significant part of its budget to the benefit of another state. Any legislators who approved such a thing would be voted out of office in a heartbeat.

Well, the city of Chandigarh is in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, of which it is the capital. It is also the capital of both the bordering states of Panjab and Haryana, and it's in neither of those states jurisdictionally.


It's not unimaginable for me. Daegu is the provincial capital of Gyeongsangbukdo although it's not part of the province. No reason why it couldn't work in the US.

We're talking about the United States, which has a federal system in which the states have a large degree of political autonomy. What's possible in Korea, India, or Africa has very little to do with what's politically possible in the US.

robert_columbia
01-23-2016, 02:06 PM
Is "capital" an official designation, or just a conventional way to refer to the location of the seat of government? Federally, a very large number of US government agencies have their headquarters in Maryland or Virginia, and I think there is even one in West Virginia, and the "summer capital" of the USA is at Camp David, Maryland.

Several countries in the world have multiple capitals, in which the legislature is centered in one city and the judicial in another. Such as Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa. When a nation moves its capital, it mayh take decades to fully transfer the seat of government from one city to another....
Granted, those are not US states, but I suspect that there are many states in which there is no enacted law nor constitutional provision that relates to a specific municipal entity needing to be formally proclaimed as "The Capital" and exclusively the venue of any/all government administrative activity....

Good points. Some have defined the capital of the USA as the location where Congress meets, so if Congress happens to meet somewhere else (for whatever reason, maybe the beer is better), then the capital automatically, ipso facto changes to the new location without any specific legislation, order, or ruling necessary other than Congress's normal call to order. The very fact of Congress meeting there makes it the capital. Quite a number of cities (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_capitals_in_the_United_States#United_States_of_America) have therefore been identified as former capitals. While most people know that NYC and Philadelphia were former capitals, other cities such as Princeton, Trenton NJ, Lancaster PA, York PA, and Baltimore are on the list since Congress did, in fact, hold at least one official meeting in each of those cities.

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 02:09 PM
India is also a federal system.

And the question I responded to wasn't asking what was "politically possible in the United States."

And that's not even the question asked in the OP. It's asking if the capital has to be in the state.

And excuse me if I yawn at another "this-is-America-and-you-don't-understand-no-one-is-like-us" tantrum.

robert_columbia
01-23-2016, 02:18 PM
Title is the question, basically. I'm talking USA states here.
I don't see anything about it in the Constitution; do any state constitutions allow for (that is, fail to explicitly prohibit) farming out capitalical duties to a town across the river?

The US Constitution has a list of things that the states are not allowed to do. If the Constitution doesn't ban it, then there is essentially nothing, except possibly for a US Federal Law, that could legally stop them.


No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.


I wonder if placing a state's capital out of state would necessarily constitute "enter[ing] into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power". I suppose that if Kentucky wanted its capital to be Nashville, Tennessee, then Kentucky officials could just set themselves up in Nashville as private citizens and conduct business via their Constitutional rights to Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Speech, without specifically getting Tennessee's permission to do so. Any attempt by Tennessee to interfere would come under normal civil liberties principles and would spend years dragging through the courts.

Colibri
01-23-2016, 02:35 PM
India is also a federal system.

And the question I responded to wasn't asking what was "politically possible in the United States."

Your answer about what happens in India was entirely irrelevant to the actual question asked in the OP, which is about the US.

And excuse me if I yawn at another "this-is-America-and-you-don't-understand-no-one-is-like-us" tantrum.

I fail to see how pointing out that answering a question about the US system with an irrelevant response is a tantrum.

Ulf the Unwashed
01-23-2016, 02:46 PM
And excuse me if I yawn at another "this-is-America-and-you-don't-understand-no-one-is-like-us" tantrum.

Yawn away. Knock yourself out!
While you're at it, you might consider actually, you know, reading the OP.

TriPolar
01-23-2016, 02:51 PM
I wonder if placing a state's capital out of state would necessarily constitute "enter[ing] into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power". I suppose that if Kentucky wanted its capital to be Nashville, Tennessee, then Kentucky officials could just set themselves up in Nashville as private citizens and conduct business via their Constitutional rights to Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Speech, without specifically getting Tennessee's permission to do so. Any attempt by Tennessee to interfere would come under normal civil liberties principles and would spend years dragging through the courts.

That is a very good point. It extends to allowing one state to affect the process of another, for example by denying Kentucky physical access to it's own capital city, and beyond that possibly to allowing the Federal government control as well. To look at one example of this the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (well known because of Bridgegate) is authorized by an act of Congress. It's employees are barred from elected office and other government positions in the states.

The problem with such hypotheticals is that if it ever did occur under whatever bizarre circumstances could bring about such action, the state and federal laws would be immediately changed to manage the situation.

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 02:57 PM
Yawn away. Knock yourself out!
While you're at it, you might consider actually, you know, reading the OP.


Did you read it? Did you read the posts I responded to? It asks if any state constitutions restrict the location of the state capital. It doesn't ask what's "politically possible" in the United States. It doesn't ask about our (oh so preciously unique!) federal system. And neither did the comment by Colibri that I was reacting to.

Xema
01-23-2016, 03:37 PM
... another "this-is-America-and-you-don't-understand-no-one-is-like-us" tantrum.
A suggestion: Avoiding the implication that comments you take issue with are inherently irrational may lead to a more constructive discussion.

kunilou
01-23-2016, 05:00 PM
Article IV of the Missouri constitution (http://www.moga.mo.gov/MoStatutes/ConstHTML/A040201.html) specifies "The executive and administrative officials and departments herein provided for shall establish their principal offices and keep all necessary public records, books and papers at the City of Jefferson." It also provides that the Supreme Court will be located there. Oddly enough, I can't find a requirement for the state legislature.

Alley Dweller
01-23-2016, 05:06 PM
Being the state capital brings economic benefits to that city. I can't imagine any state government deliberately spending a significant part of its budget to the benefit of another state. Any legislators who approved such a thing would be voted out of office in a heartbeat. Legislators are generally elected from local districts, not statewide. A West State legislator who voted to put the capital in East State would probably be voted out of office sooner than one who put it out-of-state.

Seriously, you think people prioritize global issues over local issues, petty as they may be, in electing their state representatives?

robert_columbia
01-23-2016, 05:31 PM
That is a very good point. It extends to allowing one state to affect the process of another, for example by denying Kentucky physical access to it's own capital city, and beyond that possibly to allowing the Federal government control as well. To look at one example of this the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (well known because of Bridgegate) is authorized by an act of Congress. It's employees are barred from elected office and other government positions in the states.

The problem with such hypotheticals is that if it ever did occur under whatever bizarre circumstances could bring about such action, the state and federal laws would be immediately changed to manage the situation.

If Kentucky and Tennessee received Federal permission to form an "Agreement or Compact", it might consist of Tennessee explicitly ceding criminal and civil jurisdiction, zoning authority, taxation, etc. over Kentucky state officials and property in exchange for a promise to keep the Kentucky capital in Tennessee for a certain period of time and possibly provide a certain level of economic benefit (e.g. Kentucky state government contracts for local Tennessee companies, jobs for Tennessee residents in Kentucky civil service, etc.). You could end up with an embassy-like situation with a Nashville city block that is off-limits to regular Tennessee police and is administered as if it was (even though it is not) part of Kentucky. Kentucky officials conducting official business in their Tennessee capital could be issued diplomatic immunity-type papers exempting them from being stopped by TN police, or that at least required TN police to immediately call in KY police and turn over the investigation.

Without any specific "Agreement or Compact", Kentucky would have to operate like an independent business in Tennessee, making sure that they stay compliant with applicable Tennessee laws, paying Tennessee property tax on their legislature's meeting hall, getting Tennessee license plates for Kentucky state vehicles, registering the weapons of Kentucky capital cops under Tennessee weapons laws, etc, and living with the fear of a sudden Tennessee police raid for whatever reason.

robert_columbia
01-23-2016, 05:44 PM
Article IV of the Missouri constitution (http://www.moga.mo.gov/MoStatutes/ConstHTML/A040201.html) specifies "The executive and administrative officials and departments herein provided for shall establish their principal offices and keep all necessary public records, books and papers at the City of Jefferson." It also provides that the Supreme Court will be located there. Oddly enough, I can't find a requirement for the state legislature.

I don't see a penalty for violating that clause. If "The executive and administrative officials and departments" decided to willfully and knowingly flout the statute by moving their principal offices and public records, books, and papers into an old warehouse in St. Louis and the Missouri justice system found out and was able to prove it in court, what penalties could be imposed? A fine? One year in jail? Civil asset forfeiture of the officials' cars? Double-secret probation with random strip searches and drug testing? Penal transportation to Branson?

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 05:49 PM
Writ of mandamus.

Constitutional restrictions on government aren't usually enforced through criminal penalties.

Like any other constitutional issue, it's possible for all constitutional authorities to decide not to abide by the restrictions, and if the voters choose not to remove them from office, then that's that.

Snnipe 70E
01-23-2016, 06:43 PM
A county seat need not be within the county. For example, the county seat of Augusta County, Virginia, is in Staunton VA (a separate independent city, entirely surrounded by Augusta County).

Are you saying Staunton VA is not in Augusta County? If not what county is it in?

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 07:06 PM
Are you saying Staunton VA is not in Augusta County? If not what county is it in?

See post No. 12. In Virginia, a city is not part of any county. Virginia cities are county-equivalent jurisdictions.

Siam Sam
01-23-2016, 07:16 PM
Why on earth would anyone want their capital to be in another state? And how would that even work anyway?

JRDelirious
01-23-2016, 07:20 PM
Is "capital" an official designation, or just a conventional way to refer to the location of the seat of government? Federally, a very large number of US government agencies have their headquarters in Maryland or Virginia Mostly the second meaning, but as mentioned, many states in their constitutions officially identify a specific city as "seat of government" and say what should be there, and those who don't do so by statute.

The nature of the federal capital and the capitals of the states are different. DC exists under the power of Congress to "exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District ... as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be"

At the Federal Level what evolved was that the District is to be the home of the three constitutionally created branches: Presidency, Congress, SCOTUS, and their central support structure so that they be free from interference by state authority, and have the body politic within which they operate be subordinate to themselves. A statutory dependency like the Defense Department OTOH can be headquartered in Virginia because anywhere they were located they'd be equally subordinate to POTUS, all you need is for them to be within easy commute of the Boss' office.

Meanwhile, if there is and where is the capital of a US state is within the reserved powers of the respective states. In some it is state-constitutionally mandated that the Governor shall have a permanent office in a specific city, and that the Legislature will sit in regular open session at a location in that city. Others leave it entirely to ordinary legislation wat they'll do about it. But none operates a DC-style "capital territory": Columbus is still an incorporated municipality of the State of Ohio, not a special reserve ruled as the Ohio Legislature sees fit. It would be quite unexpected for a state legislature to decide to sit and work in a location where they do not have jurisdiction and authority, for the reasons robert_columbia described.

(Legally, municipalities of a US state are creatures of the state, subdivisions of it, while the States OTOH are constituent parts of the USA, not dependencies of the federal government.)

jtur88
01-23-2016, 07:49 PM
Why on earth would anyone want their capital to be in another state? And how would that even work anyway?

Say, for example, Hawaii comes under a massive military invasion or natural disaster and it is not safe for anyone to be there. The state legislature could (maybe) choose to evacuate and conduct the affairs of state government from a temporary "capital" in San Francisco. I would doubt if any state would have such a law prohibiting such a move. Really, no more difficult than getting a change of venue for a criminal trial, if there are demonstrable circumstances to warrant it.

Siam Sam
01-23-2016, 07:57 PM
But that's not really moving the capital. It's just setting up a temporary headquarters until the situation returns to normal. And even in that scenario, with San Francisco a six-hour flight away it's hard to think of them even trying that. If it's so dire, there won't be anything for the state legislature to govern anyway.

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 07:59 PM
Why on earth would anyone want their capital to be in another state? And how would that even work anyway?

It's conceivable that the territory and boundaries and transportation infrastructure of a state might be such that the most efficient location in terms of accessibility from all areas is in a city outside the jurisdiction of the state.

It's conceivable that a state might have a population and economy such that it is not efficient to build the infrastructure of governmental institutions inside the state and merely lease them, for example, from a city in another state.

It's conceivable that the political and security situation in a state might be so unstable and dangerous that it is prudent for governmental institutions to meet outside the boundaries of the state.

It's conceivable that during certain seasons, the climate of the state might be so inhospitable that it makes sense for governmental institutions to operate from a location outside the state.

It's conceivable that a state might be such a newly created entity, that it has not had the time to establish infrastructure and services in a location within its borders and thus it chooses a location outside the state for its governmental institutions to operate.

It's conceivable—as in the case of Panjab and Haryana—that two geographically small states in close proximity might choose to share the costs of establishing the infrastructure and services to serve the operations of governmental institutions in a common city.

...

Others could maybe think of more ...

Siam Sam
01-23-2016, 08:04 PM
It's conceivable that the territory and boundaries and transportation infrastructure of a state might be such that the most efficient location in terms of accessibility from all areas is in a city outside the jurisdiction of the state.

It's conceivable that a state might have a population and economy such that it is not efficient to build the infrastructure of governmental institutions inside the state and merely lease them, for example, from a city in another state.

It's conceivable that the political and security situation in a state might be so unstable and dangerous that it is prudent for governmental institutions to meet outside the boundaries of the state.

It's conceivable that during certain seasons, the climate of the state might be so inhospitable that it makes sense for governmental institutions to operate from a location outside the state.

It's conceivable that a state might be such a newly created entity, that it has not had the time to establish infrastructure and services in a location within its borders and thus it chooses a location outside the state for its governmental institutions to operate.

It's conceivable—as in the case of Panjab and Haryana—that two geographically small states in close proximity might choose to share the costs of establishing the infrastructure and services to serve the operations of governmental institutions in a common city.

...

Others could maybe think of more ...

I can't really conceive of any of those scenarios. This is starting to sound like one of those "Can God create a rock that is too heavy for him to lift?" type of questions. As for any newly created state, a state is not allowed to become a state -- not in the US anyway -- unless it does have supporting infrastructure up and running.

Pantastic
01-23-2016, 08:13 PM
Generally State constitutions don't attempt to forbid every dumb thing that people have no reason to want to do, they try to restrict things that people are concerned might happen. Why would a state want to put its capital in a location where it can't pass laws, can't have it's own police, can't profit from taxes on the businesses that hang off of the capital, and where it's pretty much completely at the mercy of another state whether it can even operate? Also, sovereign immunity usually protects any officers of a State government from a lot of potential lawsuits, but it might not offer protection if you're carrying out governance in an area where you're not sovereign.

OP, is there a scenario you have in mind that prompted this question?

robert_columbia
01-23-2016, 08:26 PM
I can't really conceive of any of those scenarios. This is starting to sound like one of those "Can God create a rock that is too heavy for him to lift?" type of questions. As for any newly created state, a state is not allowed to become a state -- not in the US anyway -- unless it does have supporting infrastructure up and running.

They might not be very likely, but there is nothing in the law preventing them. Suppose Hawaii was flooded by a tidal wave, was projected to remain underwater or at least uninhabitable until 2018, and that Oregon agreed to allow the 5% of Hawaii residents and officials that survived to hold emergency elections and set up temporary offices in Portland to print aid checks and serve as a gathering point to make appropriate plans to resettle Hawaii. Bingo, now you have an out-of-state capital.

Or, suppose the Canadian military invades Maine, summarily executing all Maine state officials that they find and blazing a path of fire through the state. The governor and surviving members of the legislature, running for their lives, pile into an old dinghy and eventually wash ashore in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, where they build an emergency shelter from parts of the old boardwalk, sit in a circle on the beach and declare a State of Emergency, request Federal funding to purchase tanks for the Maine State Police, recruit replacement Maine police officers from local New Jersey communities, and pass a law permitting Maine children whose schools were burnt down by the Canadians to receive credit toward a Maine high school diploma by attending out-of-state schools.

Lord Feldon
01-23-2016, 08:32 PM
Why on earth would anyone want their capital to be in another state? And how would that even work anyway?

Why is it hard to understand how it would work? The state would buy some land and put some administrative facilities on it, just like in any capital.

robert_columbia
01-23-2016, 08:37 PM
See post No. 12. In Virginia, a city is not part of any county. Virginia cities are county-equivalent jurisdictions.

Right, and it gets even weirder. The county seat of Fairfax County is Fairfax, which is not in Fairfax County even though it is surrounded on all sides by Fairfax County. So if you live in Fairfax County and need to visit certain county offices, you have to leave Fairfax County and go to Fairfax in order to meet with the appropriate Fairfax County officials, then to go home to Fairfax County you have to leave Fairfax. If you like the neighborhood you visited when visiting with your Fairfax County officials and decide to move there, you become a resident of Fairfax and cease to be a resident of Fairfax County, so now your officials are in a different neighborhood. If you live here long enough, it becomes normal.

doreen
01-23-2016, 09:11 PM
It's conceivable that the territory and boundaries and transportation infrastructure of a state might be such that the most efficient location in terms of accessibility from all areas is in a city outside the jurisdiction of the state.

It's conceivable that a state might have a population and economy such that it is not efficient to build the infrastructure of governmental institutions inside the state and merely lease them, for example, from a city in another state.

It's conceivable that the political and security situation in a state might be so unstable and dangerous that it is prudent for governmental institutions to meet outside the boundaries of the state. (snip)

Those things might be conceivable in some other country, but they are absolutely inconceivable in the US. In the cases involving inefficiency, it's conceivable that it might be more efficient to put the capital in another state- but it still won't happen. We do lots of things that are inefficient - and most especially with government agencies.* We value independence more than efficiency - State A doesn't want its governor escorted from the airport to the capital by the State B police. Perhaps more importantly, State A is not going to set up its capital in State B , so that State B gets tax revenue from State A employees (who are likely residents of state B) and State B gets the economic benefit of State A employees spending most of their money in State B. As it is, it's not uncommon for states and municipalities to require residency as a condition of employment - it's literally inconceivable to imagine that any state would arrange things so that many of the employees working in the capitol will be residents of state B. And even if they don't live in State B, if State B has an income tax, it will ensure that they pay income tax to State B on money earned in State B.


If Hawaii was rendered uninhabitable until 2018, the legislature would sooner set up shop in a houseboat where Hawaii used to be than go to Portland- although I'm not sure who they would be printing aid checks for (as there are no longer any Hawaii residents) or where they would be getting money to fund the checks ( as there are no more Hawaii residents or businesses paying taxes)



* I worked for a state agency that was headquartered in Albany- even though over half of the staff worked in the NYC area, over half of the client population was in the NYC area, and the chair of the agency spent a great deal of time in his NYC office. Why was the headquarters in Albany when most of the activity was in NYC ? Because it was required by law , not because it was efficient.

Lord Feldon
01-23-2016, 09:17 PM
Right, and it gets even weirder. The county seat of Fairfax County is Fairfax, which is not in Fairfax County even though it is surrounded on all sides by Fairfax County.

Although the actual county administration buildings are in an island of Fairfax County surrounded by Fairfax. (But obviously nobody lives there, except I guess people in the jail.)

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 09:27 PM
Those things might be conceivable in some other country, but they are absolutely inconceivable in the US.


First of all, the question I was responding to was, "Why on earth ... ?" And those are absolutely all conceivable "on earth."

Second, I stress again that the OP has not asked what is politically likely in the United States but merely what is permitted

--------------

As an aside I think it's rather a conceit that we as Americans purport to cling to state boundaries as basic facets of our identities when of all the nations of the earth our internal jurisdictions are not based on ethnicity, language, race, religion, origin, creed, or any other actual characteristic of personal identity.

Many other countries draw their internal boundaries based on actual divisions of these kinds. Our states are largely arbitrary and the result of historical accidents that in terms of human history happened just about yesterday at lunchtime.

We are the most mobile society in the world. I would be surprised if 5 percent of the people I know live in the state where they were born. We have a national identity but people like to pretend that our state identities are somehow important when they have practically no impact on our lives. Hell, the university where we got our bachelor's degrees (or not) is a more important source of personal identity than our states.

kurtisokc
01-23-2016, 09:36 PM
According to this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_capitals_outside_the_territories_they_serve locating an capital or administrative center outside of the territory which it serves, while unusual, is not unheard of. The typical case might involve a city which politically separates itself from the surrounding region, but retains the government offices for that region because of its central location.

kurtisokc
01-23-2016, 09:43 PM
retracted

kunilou
01-23-2016, 09:59 PM
There's another wrinkle to consider. In some states, including my own state of Missouri, the governor only has authority while he's physically in the state (the lieutenant governor has temporary authority while the governor is gone.) It may be an archaic remnant of the days when travel was difficult (or it may be a remnant of when the pro-secessionist Missouri governor fled to Arkansas early in the Civil war) but it would be an incredible paradox to locate the state capital in a place where the governor has no legal authority to govern.

robert_columbia
01-23-2016, 10:04 PM
...If Hawaii was rendered uninhabitable until 2018, the legislature would sooner set up shop in a houseboat where Hawaii used to be than go to Portland- although I'm not sure who they would be printing aid checks for (as there are no longer any Hawaii residents)....


They would be for people temporarily living in migrant camps in Oregon or wherever, waiting for the day that they will resettle Hawaii.

...or where they would be getting money to fund the checks ( as there are no more Hawaii residents or businesses paying taxes)...

The Hawaii state government presumably will have some financial reserves in an emergency fund. Even if not, they could have received an aid check from the Federal government that they would then be responsible for managing, sort of like how Medicaid is paid for by the Federal government but managed by the states.

doreen
01-23-2016, 10:16 PM
First of all, the question I was responding to was, "Why on earth ... ?" And those are absolutely all conceivable "on earth.

Second, I stress again that the OP has not asked what is politically likely in the United States but merely what is permitted And someone answered to the effect that it was likely that many states didn't have any specific provision prohibiting it because it was inconceivable that any legislature would choose to do so. And then a question was asked about whether the political impossibility of doing so would really result in lack of a prohibition in a state constitution.

--------------

As an aside I think it's rather a conceit that we as Americans purport to cling to state boundaries as basic facets of our identities when of all the nations of the earth our internal jurisdictions are not based on ethnicity, language, race, religion, origin, creed, or any other actual characteristic of personal identity. I wasn't talking about state boundaries being a facet of our identities. I was talking about the governor and legislators and officials of state A not wishing to be bound by any laws or regulations of State B, as they would be if the capital were physically located there (Hey Texas, put your capital in NY state- but you can't open carry. Or NJ troopers can't use lights and sirens to get the NJ governor from the airport to the legislative offices in NY - if he wants an escort, it's gotta be NY troopers.) and not wanting to move jobs and other economic activity out of State A into State B. There's also what kunilou mentioned about some governors only having authority when physically in the state.



We are the most mobile society in the world. I would be surprised if 5 percent of the people I know live in the state where they were born. And this very much depends upon your circles - because something like 50% of the people I know were born in the same state where they live, and plenty of that 50% were both born and currently live in NYC.

robert_columbia
01-23-2016, 10:17 PM
...
Many other countries draw their internal boundaries based on actual divisions of these kinds. Our states are largely arbitrary and the result of historical accidents that in terms of human history happened just about yesterday at lunchtime.

We are the most mobile society in the world....

By contrast, India has a Federal/State system very similar to the US, but the states of India are largely drawn on linguistic borders (they aren't perfect, of course, but they are rather close). This makes it harder from a practical perspective to just move to a different state. Imagine if you were considering taking a job in Wyoming and had to also worry about finding enough time to learn to speak Wyomingese in addition to your fluent Pennsylvanian and good-enough Marylander, and then realize that your spouse's paperwork is all in Floridian and now you need to get a certified Floridian->Wyomingese translator but find out that they are so rare that you have to settle on a two-step translation process of Floridian->Tennesseeish->Wyomingese. Don't even think about trying to visit Disneyland, because everyone knows that Californian is by far the hardest American language to learn, dude.

To some extent, Canada and Switzerland also have state borders that roughly map to language borders. Finland, though not a federation, has some jurisdictional boundaries that closely divide majority language areas.

Acsenray
01-23-2016, 10:25 PM
And someone answered to the effect that it was likely that many states didn't have any specific provision prohibiting it because it was inconceivable that any legislature would choose to do so. And then a question was asked about whether the political impossibility of doing so would really result in lack of a prohibition in a state constitution.

And my responses have indicated fairly specifically which questions I was responding to.

I wasn't talking about state boundaries being a facet of our identities.

I'm pretty damn certain that I used several means of indicating that that particular comment was not in response to anything you were talking about ... the dashed lines ... "as an aside" ... the use of "we" ...

And this very much depends upon your circles - because something like 50% of the people I know were born in the same state where they live, and plenty of that 50% were both born and currently live in NYC.

And taking the country as a whole, we will still be the most mobile society in the world.

By contrast, India has a Federal/State system very similar to the US, but the states of India are largely drawn on linguistic borders (they aren't perfect, of course, but they are rather close). This makes it harder from a practical perspective to just move to a different state. Imagine if you were considering taking a job in Wyoming and had to also worry about finding enough time to learn to speak Wyomingese in addition to your fluent Pennsylvanian and good-enough Marylander, and then realize that your spouse's paperwork is all in Floridian and now you need to get a certified Floridian->Wyomingese translator but find out that they are so rare that you have to settle on a two-step translation process of Floridian->Tennesseeish->Wyomingese.

Just as a matter of practicality, a whole lot of government business in India is conducted in English, because of exactly these kinds of issues.

Ulf the Unwashed
01-23-2016, 10:32 PM
And this very much depends upon your circles - because something like 50% of the people I know were born in the same state where they live, and plenty of that 50% were both born and currently live in NYC.

The figures do vary from state to state, but overall 59% of Americans live in the same state as they were born. Even if you just look at adults it is around fifty percent. Your experience seems quite standard.

Excellent post overall, btw.

Monty
01-24-2016, 12:51 AM
We're talking about the United States, which has a federal system in which the states have a large degree of political autonomy. What's possible in Korea, India, or Africa has very little to do with what's politically possible in the US.

I know what we're talking about. Someone said it was unimaginable to have the state capital outside of the state. I stated that it's not unimaginable for me since I've seen at least one province with a capital outside the province and that, as I said, there's no reason why that can't work in the US. I was obviously aware of the subject.

There is also the case of Fairfax County in Virginia, referred to up-thread. For those of us who've spent a few years in that state, it's not out of the ordinary. Those of us who've lived in Arlington, VA are also familiar with a county with no country seat, since there are no cities or towns (although a number of neighborhoods call themselves something-or-the other city) in that county.

Melbourne
01-24-2016, 04:35 AM
Yawn away. Knock yourself out!
While you're at it, you might consider actually, you know, reading the OP.

In my youth, the USA was marked by a pleasent interest in the way the rest of the world worked. Not extending to actual visiting, or studying, but just a friendly neighbourly interest.

robert_columbia
01-24-2016, 07:36 AM
...There is also the case of Fairfax County in Virginia, referred to up-thread. For those of us who've spent a few years in that state, it's not out of the ordinary. Those of us who've lived in Arlington, VA are also familiar with a county with no country seat, since there are no cities or towns (although a number of neighborhoods call themselves something-or-the other city) in that county.

Virginia also has James City County, which is not a city, and whose county seat is Williamsburg, which is not part of James City County. Virginia does not have a city called James City. There is a place called Jamestown, but it is now a national park and no longer an operating town.

Hector_St_Clare
01-24-2016, 10:20 AM
The capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is, for historical reasons, currently not in Andhra Pradesh, although this is a temporary thing, they're (last I checked) in the process of selecting a new capital. (Between 1956 and 2014, Andhra Pradesh included the state currently known as Telangana).

Siam Sam
01-24-2016, 10:30 AM
Or, suppose the Canadian military invades Maine, summarily executing all Maine state officials that they find and blazing a path of fire through the state. The governor and surviving members of the legislature, running for their lives, pile into an old dinghy and eventually wash ashore in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, where they build an emergency shelter from parts of the old boardwalk, sit in a circle on the beach and declare a State of Emergency, request Federal funding to purchase tanks for the Maine State Police, recruit replacement Maine police officers from local New Jersey communities, and pass a law permitting Maine children whose schools were burnt down by the Canadians to receive credit toward a Maine high school diploma by attending out-of-state schools.

This is why I for one have always advocated a preemptive military strike on Canada, just to ensure they don't get any ideas like this. But I suspect the chances of such a preemptive strike happening are roughly equal to a state capital ever being outside its state.

Atamasama
01-24-2016, 11:00 AM
Did you read it? Did you read the posts I responded to? It asks if any state constitutions restrict the location of the state capital. It doesn't ask what's "politically possible" in the United States. It doesn't ask about our (oh so preciously unique!) federal system. And neither did the comment by Colibri that I was reacting to.

The OP specified that they wanted to know about USA states, so yeah you were verging off-topic into irrelevance.

Acsenray
01-24-2016, 11:19 AM
The OP specified that they wanted to know about USA states, so yeah you were verging off-topic into irrelevance.

When people are suggesting that certain things that are not legally prohibited are inconceivable or impossible, offering examples from actual things that have happened in the world are absolutely relevant.

Ravenman
01-24-2016, 11:29 AM
Is "capital" an official designation, or just a conventional way to refer to the location of the seat of government? .... the "summer capital" of the USA is at Camp David, Maryland.As mentioned in passing, the Constitution requires Congress to designate a seat of government and it did so with the Residence Act of 1790. Camp David is not the "summer capital" of the US in any way.

Some have defined the capital of the USA as the location where Congress meets, so if Congress happens to meet somewhere else (for whatever reason, maybe the beer is better), then the capital automatically, ipso facto changes to the new location without any specific legislation, order, or ruling necessary other than Congress's normal call to order. The very fact of Congress meeting there makes it the capital. While Congress moved around like a circus during the Revolutionary War, the seat of the United States government is factually and legally Washington, DC, until a new law designates some other seat of government.

It is conceivable that Congress may have to move to the basement of the Greenbriar Hotel in West Virginia in case of a national emergency, but it is baseless to conclude that the Greenbriar would then be the capital of the United States.

http://legisworks.org/sal/1/stats/STATUTE-1-Pg130.pdf

Acsenray
01-24-2016, 11:31 AM
Ever since the Washington Post revealed the existence of the secret bunker at the Greenbriar, it has ceased to be the designated emergency location for Congress. There's a culinary school in there now, and they give tours and I think they even let people camp out there.

jtur88
01-24-2016, 12:03 PM
The United States recognized the governments in exile of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonian for a half a century. So there is certainly a precedent in American political philosophy for a recognized government to exist while seated outside the territory so governed.

pkbites
01-24-2016, 02:51 PM
Why on earth would anyone want their capital to be in another state? And how would that even work anyway?

The entire premise of it made me laugh. How weird it would be if Wisconsins capital was somewhere in the Blue Mountains of Oregon.

Hector_St_Clare
01-24-2016, 03:08 PM
The entire premise of it made me laugh. How weird it would be if Wisconsins capital was somewhere in the Blue Mountains of Oregon.

In the internet age, it's certainly not impossible for all the necessary political business to be done remotely. As noted, other countries have managed it on occasion.

Spud
01-24-2016, 04:23 PM
I can't be the only one thinking of the following scenario after reading the OP...

[Thick Indian Accent]Tank you for calling the South Carolina Statehouse... this is Governor "Steve"... how can I help you today?[/Thick Indian Accent]

typoink
01-24-2016, 06:48 PM
What possible rationale would there be for having a state capital in another state?

A natural disaster or chemical spill destroys a state capital or renders it temporarily unusable for official services. It is decided that this city should remain the capital in the long-term, but another city will need to serve as capital for the next few years during rebuilding. It's decided that moving to another existing city in the state may trigger some sort of unwanted power shift or result in people attempting to make that city the permanent capital. Or possibly simply that there's a nearby city that would serve the purposes better but is across state lines.

I could almost imagine this being the case if Madison, WI was somehow demolished. Rockford, IL is only an hour or so away and would probably have the infrastructure in place to provide temporary facilities for the WI government. The only problem being...well, it's Illinois. We're not exactly famous for our helpful, selfless, not-pocket-picking-of-any-organization-than-crosses-our-borders ways.

Ravenman
01-24-2016, 07:08 PM
And in that case, Milwaukee is about an hour away, too.

Look, the clear answer is that in some states states, the capital is designated by the state constitution. In some states, the capital may be designated by law. So the capitals, in any realistic sense, aren't moving anywhere. Could those laws be changed? Yes, and could my mother be a car? Yes, if I add wheels and an engine to her.

In the end, this is the same sort out outlandish scenario investigated by asking whether President Obama could use a recess appointment to give Malia a seat on the Supreme Court to help improve her college applications. Sure, in weirdo world he could do such a thing, but that doesn't mean it is a relevant question. It just isn't going to happen, because people would freak out if someone attempted such bizarre political maneuvers.

Pantastic
01-24-2016, 08:58 PM
I don't really count 'government in exile' scenarios as moving the capitol, because in those cases I would expect that the Capital city remains the same, and that whatever is left of the government meets at a temporary location, even if it takes years to get back to the real capital. In the case of Canada occupying Maine, you're still going to have most of the day-to-day government functions in the state, the Canadian Overlords are just going to direct them from above. I still don't see a scenario where you'd want to move your actual capital out of the state.

In the internet age, it's certainly not impossible for all the necessary political business to be done remotely. As noted, other countries have managed it on occasion.

I think it's going to be a very long time before criminal trials and appeals or management of law enforcement are handled remotely. And I don't think the general legislative business is ever going to be handled entirely electronically, since that leaves too much of a record of deals that people want kept private.

The other countries that have 'managed it' don't have sovereign, indivisible subunits as far as I know. There is a big difference between putting a county seat of government in a city that isn't part of a county when both derive their authority from the state and both only exist at the whim of the state, or putting the head of a province in another province when both derive their authority from the country and both exist only at the whim of the Federal government. US states have much more authority in their own territory and no real recourse in another state's territory, and governments aren't going to voluntarily set up shop in territory they don't actually govern.

robert_columbia
01-24-2016, 10:49 PM
...Second, I stress again that the OP has not asked what is politically likely in the United States but merely what is permitted...

Right. Many of the most interesting GQ questions have to do with legal theory questions that don't have a lot of practical use because they involve scenarios that are politically, socially, economically, or cosmologically unfeasible and are thus unlikely to come up in real legal cases or law review articles. Is it legal for men over 90 to wear miniskirts during a blizzard? Almost certainly yes, but very few men will do so and so no one thought to pass a law against such a peculiar act. If, however, some jurisdiction did pass such a law forbidding such, that would 1) be inherently interesting and 2) Provide an interesting insight into political attitudes, ideas, and systems in that jurisdiction (like, why do they care more about that than, say, beefing up their environmental protection laws?).

whc.03grady
01-25-2016, 12:20 AM
What you said.
Thanks, for what I think amounts to a defense of my question.
If practical unlikelihood trumps possibility in theory when determining which questions are worth considering, then probably 75% of GQ should just go away.

I never thought it was likely; I wondered, basically, whether any state, while drafting its constitution or amending it sometime after, was nervous enough about the possibility (or perhaps had other reasons) that they thought they'd better come right out and forbid it, just in case. If my OP doesn't reflect that, I apologize.