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-   -   What would actually happen if a state stopped recognizing Federal power? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=889858)

Inigo Montoya 02-10-2020 02:32 PM

What would actually happen if a state stopped recognizing Federal power?
 
Sort of a GQ, but so wildly hypothetical any answers would almost certainly contain speculation.

So let's say Gavin Newsom wakes up one morning and is watching the news while munching on his Wheaties. Trump's successor, unrestrained by reason thanks to precedent, is once again embarrassing his own country and threatening the safety and livelihoods of Americans (this week because he has declared war on those godless isopods!)...Gavin throws up in his mouth a little. He can't believe his own constituents are having to tithe to this circus. But of course, the last time someone seceded there was a big messy deal made of it. So what if...what if Gavin just said, no. California will be its own thing, Cali people & businesses won't pay federal income tax, and federal laws will not be enforced. You get the idea. Independence is simply "accepted" and not declared as such, and Cali people simply continue on their more or less normal day to day routines.

What actions could a state expect from the Federal Government? Harshly worded letters? Actual military attack (upon whom)? Withheld funding (would it matter if Cali was agreeable to paying its own way)?

My intent is not to map out how to make all of this happen so much as to understand whether The Federal Government has any actual power if said power is ignored. How much of the unity of the United States is anchored primarily in good faith?

Jasmine 02-10-2020 02:41 PM

For sure they would lose all federal funding for virtually everything. That alone would have a huge and negative economic impact on the state in question and anger their voting population. It would probably be political suicide for the politicians who insisted on doing it. That's probably why even the craziest Republican Right Wingers haven't as yet tried it.

Little Nemo 02-10-2020 03:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya (Post 22131118)
My intent is not to map out how to make all of this happen so much as to understand whether The Federal Government has any actual power if said power is ignored. How much of the unity of the United States is anchored primarily in good faith?

It's primarily good faith. But the force is there.

What would normally happen is the President would decide upon some aspect of federal power that wasn't being enforced in the breakaway state. The state isn't collecting the tariff or delivering the mail or complying with a Supreme Court decision or allowing military personnel to travel though the state; some symbol of the supremacy of federal power over state power. And he would inform the state government that he's going to carry out this exercise of federal power in their state.

The state then has a choice. They either back down and allow the exercise to happen, in which case they are de facto abandoning their claim of state supremacy. Or they can resist, in which case the President can use the means at his command - primarily the armed forces - to enforce compliance.

rbroome 02-10-2020 03:24 PM

Well, it has been tried before. S. Carolina tried it in 1861 and in the early 1960s (segregation). It didn't go well for the state either time.

All state officials I am aware of swear an oath to the US Constitution as well as the state Constitution. So lawsuits and/or recalls would be an initial response.

ASL v2.0 02-10-2020 03:36 PM

Adding onto what Little Nemo said, let’s remember the War of Southern Aggression began basically the same way. Just saying "Hey, we decided we’re done, good luck." But, much as with Brexit, that’s easier said than done. Suddenly, you start getting into the not-so-mundane details of things, questions of border control and ownership of state or federal lands, and it either becomes a protracted discussion between two parties who at least agree that the state in question has a right to pull out (as with Brexit) or parties start making unilateral decisions as both sides are fundamentally at odds (as with a hypothetical US state refusing to recognize any federal authority, effectively seceding). The state government says it's no longer subject to the federal government and the Constitution, and that’s nice and all, but what happens when individual citizens refuse to file taxes and the IRS comes knocking?

At some point, federal laws will be broken, if not by the state, then by its residents, at which point you get the ultimate test of sovereignty: who comes away with the monopoly on violence within the states borders? Whether the federal government uses the military to enforce its monopoly, or it just never gets to that point because individual citizens lack the wherewithal to follow their state's government off a cliff, my money would be on any such declaration of independence (which is basically what you have posited) coming to a swift end, unless the move away from federal power involves more than one (many) states.

Velocity 02-10-2020 03:39 PM

As Jasmine pointed out, the state would lose all federal funding.

That being said, with this particular example - since politics permeates everything - if it's a Republican president in power, and given the state of politics these days, I think we would actually see many Republicans call for California to simply be recognized as an independent nation and kick it out of the Union. It would shift politics immensely in favor of the GOP for the remaining 49-state America. It would mean that 55 blue electoral votes and many millions of liberals had just removed themselves from the equation. So I don't think a Republican-controlled government would actually put up much of a fuss over this.

ASL v2.0 02-10-2020 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velocity (Post 22131260)
As Jasmine pointed out, the state would lose all federal funding.

That being said, with this particular example - since politics permeates everything - if it's a Republican president in power, and given the state of politics these days, I think we would actually see many Republicans call for California to simply be recognized as an independent nation and kick it out of the Union. It would shift politics immensely in favor of the GOP for the remaining 49-state America. It would mean that 55 blue electoral votes and many millions of liberals had just removed themselves from the equation. So I don't think a Republican-controlled government would actually put up much of a fuss over this.

I donít think itís as easy as that. Based on the events of the Civil War and its aftermath, particularly the SCOTUS decision in Texas v White, it would take an amendment to sever ties between the federal government and a state. So itís not enough that a state and even a super-majority of that state's residents decide they are done, and a bunch of Republicans in Congress decide to agree. At there very least, theyíd have to go through the process to push through an amendment, and I donít think itís likely that youíd get the necessary 75% of state legislatures to go along with that in the foreseeable future.

Barring an amendment, if even one resident of a seceding state felt they were having their rights due under the US constitution denied to them, they could avail themselves of the federal courts and force the issue as I previously outlined: at some point, federal laws get broken, and the state and its residents can be made to comply. I suppose it is conceivable that you could end up with a situation where the state refuses to comply and the executive branch of the federal government refuses to compel compliance (itís happened before) and so the question is put off, but that only lasts until the next partyóa party concerned with union and federal authorityódecides for the federal government to assert itself again.

Czarcasm 02-10-2020 03:56 PM

What would happen would be dependent on the political leanings of the state, the Congress and the President...and the willingness of the latter two to do their Constitutional duty.

Velocity 02-10-2020 03:59 PM

I also wonder if there would be any effect on California being represented in the Electoral College and Senate/House. Might a Republican presidency claim that a delinquent state doesn't get to have its votes counted on Election day until it's in good standing again?

YamatoTwinkie 02-10-2020 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jasmine (Post 22131142)
For sure they would lose all federal funding for virtually everything. That alone would have a huge and negative economic impact on the state in question and anger their voting population. It would probably be political suicide for the politicians who insisted on doing it. That's probably why even the craziest Republican Right Wingers haven't as yet tried it.

I think OPs scenario has California also putting a hold on any federal income tax going out of California (redirecting it back to the state). I believe the net result is a wash, at least from a pure dollars-in to dollars-out standpoint.

Obviously just the disruption in services and uncertainty would result in substantial economic impact, but this is difficult to quantify.

ASL v2.0 02-10-2020 04:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velocity (Post 22131304)
I also wonder if there would be any effect on California being represented in the Electoral College and Senate/House. Might a Republican presidency claim that a delinquent state doesn't get to have its votes counted on Election day until it's in good standing again?

Define "in good standing." Because, again, it’s not like history offers us no examples of disputes between state and federal governments. So while I’m sure there was some rationale used to not worry too much about Alabama's electoral votes during the election of 1864, I doubt the same rationale would work to deny a state government that refused to, say, cooperate with the federal government in identifying illegal immigrants or preventing sale of marijuana the chance to name electors in a Presidential election.

Tired and Cranky 02-10-2020 04:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 22131229)
It's primarily good faith. But the force is there.

What would normally happen is the President would decide upon some aspect of federal power that wasn't being enforced in the breakaway state. The state isn't collecting the tariff

States don't collect federal tariffs; federal employees do. Guess where their paychecks come from?

Quote:

or delivering the mail
Postal employees deliver the mail. They work for the federal government.

Quote:

or complying with a Supreme Court decision
What decision, and how are they not complying with it? There are likely many ways that the federal government could force compliance. Withholding federal funds is the most likely means but it's far from the only one. Imagine, for example, if banks within the state lost the ability to transmit or receive funds through the Federal Reserve. Or airports lost air traffic control coverage. Or if airlines operating in the state weren't allowed to operate in other states.

Quote:

or allowing military personnel to travel though the state;
How exactly is the state going to stop them? They are already in the state.

Quote:

The state then has a choice. They either back down and allow the exercise to happen, in which case they are de facto abandoning their claim of state supremacy. Or they can resist, in which case the President can use the means at his command - primarily the armed forces - to enforce compliance.
We had a civil war once when states tried this.

Pantastic 02-10-2020 04:09 PM

States are already refusing to enforce Federal laws and comply with 'requests' from Federal LE agencies that aren't legally enforceable, and that's completely normal. If people refuse to pay US income tax, they'll be prosecuted by the feds for tax evasion - and the IRS doesn't need local law enforcement involved. there's plenty of evidence of what happens to people and companies who refuse to pay taxes. If banks refuse to comply with reporting rules, they'll be treated as illegal and some arrests will be made and the banks will no longer be able to operate in the US at large. There are plenty of examples of what happens to banks that don't cooperate with the feds, and it's completely devastating to the bottom like of the boards, owners, and shareholders.

If people from the state, LEOs or no, try to actively stop federal LEOs from doing their job, it will be treated as some flavor of illegal activity or insurrection and arrests will be made or military units called out, depending on how widespread it is. This would be a great boon to Trump and the republicans , as the poster child of 'Blue States' attempting something like this would be eaten up by his base and (despite what Republicans say) Democrats actually want to have a USA, so opposition will be bipartisan.

"Calexit" scenarios are in general pretty senseless.

Inigo Montoya 02-10-2020 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 22131298)
...and the willingness of the latter two to do their Constitutional duty.

Poking at the heart as usual. If ever there was a time for a state, or a group of states (say, Cascadia), to pull this sort of shenanigans it would seem this is the best opportunity for success in my lifetime.

Honestly what's driving the question is: how much dereliction of duty and malgovernance do the states have to tolerate from the Executive and Legislative branches before it can be largely agreed that the Fed is no longer a legitimate governing body?

Pantastic 02-10-2020 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 (Post 22131254)
Suddenly, you start getting into the not-so-mundane details of things, questions of border control and ownership of state or federal lands,

Note that the US Federal government is the owner of more than 45% of the land in California, and that includes some major military facilities. This is would not a minor matter of selling a park somewhere. Also, while I wasn't thinking of it before, having the military personnel that reside in California refuse to pay income taxes would be kind of tricky in this scenario.

silenus 02-10-2020 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velocity (Post 22131260)
As Jasmine pointed out, the state would lose all federal funding.

That being said, with this particular example - since politics permeates everything - if it's a Republican president in power, and given the state of politics these days, I think we would actually see many Republicans call for California to simply be recognized as an independent nation and kick it out of the Union. It would shift politics immensely in favor of the GOP for the remaining 49-state America. It would mean that 55 blue electoral votes and many millions of liberals had just removed themselves from the equation. So I don't think a Republican-controlled government would actually put up much of a fuss over this.

Not if anybody took 5 seconds to think about it. California on its own is the 5th/6th largest economy on the planet. The Republic under Republicans just can't take that kind of hit. Plus losing the top 2 container ports in the country. Plus the San Joaquin Valley. They'd all starve.

Little Nemo 02-10-2020 07:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rbroome (Post 22131233)
Well, it has been tried before. S. Carolina tried it in 1861 and in the early 1960s (segregation). It didn't go well for the state either time.

Another strong precedent would be the Nullification Crisis of 1832. It centered around a tariff (I didn't use that example at random). The tariff had been enacted by the federal government but South Carolina didn't like it. So the South Carolina state government declared that they were "nullifying" the law in their state and it would not be enforced.

It's worth noting that South Carolina was not declaring independence; they still considered themselves a part of the United States. But they were declaring the belief that states had a right to veto federal laws that they disagreed with. I'm not clear if this is what the OP is describing in his post.

But either way, the President (Andrew Jackson) and Congress responded the way I described. They enacted a Force Bill which authorized the President to use military forces to collect the tariff and federal marshals to arrest anyone who breaks a federal law in a state which refuses to arrest them.

Pantastic 02-10-2020 07:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silenus (Post 22131552)
Not if anybody took 5 seconds to think about it. California on its own is the 5th/6th largest economy on the planet. The Republic under Republicans just can't take that kind of hit. Plus losing the top 2 container ports in the country. Plus the San Joaquin Valley. They'd all starve.

This came up in the big thread about Calexit a while back. It doesn't make sense for anyone to do - as screwed up as Republicans are, they still want to exist in the United States and once States start being able to up and leave, that will end as various states leave under pressure. And cutting out that much of a population and tax base is not a small deal. OTOH, the Federal government owns 45% of California's land including military bases, and much of California's water depends on interstate compacts, which would cease to exist and have to be rengeotiated if CA

Also, the logistics of separating with modern laws would be a nightmare. The US revoking citizenship for Calexiters might not be possible - but if Calexiters don't choose to revoke their citizenship, their citizens are still required to pay US income tax, and their banks have to report all income to the IRS or be unable to work with any US bank. If Calexiters do revoke citizenship, it's likely that the US would change the laws on social security payments to non-citizens living abroad, since SS payments to California are a huge expense to the US. California's big economy depends on trade with the US, and suddenly having tariffs and border controls for people driving trucks and trains to take goods into the rest of the US would cause a huge problem and need a huge amount of negotiation.

No one is going to vote to enact that mess. Some loudmouths like to talk about it, and paid Russian shills like to encourage such talk (the guy who created the movement was paid by the Russians, presumably to do so), but it's not a serious possibility.

Inigo Montoya 02-10-2020 07:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo
But they were declaring the belief that states had a right to veto federal laws that they disagreed with. I'm not clear if this is what the OP is describing in his post.

I'll clarify. I'm asking about a passive aggressive secession. Specifically, how much can a state ignore the feds before it becomes problematic. I reckon "when the money stops flowing" is pretty close to the answer, DC having little use for the several states apart from what can be squeezed from them.

And again, the specifics of how to make it work or why it may not be a good idea are not what I'm after here.

KarlGauss 02-10-2020 07:38 PM

Do National Guardsmen/women swear allegiance to their state, the nation, the constitution, or some combination of the above?

ASL v2.0 02-10-2020 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya (Post 22131662)
I'll clarify. I'm asking about a passive aggressive secession. Specifically, how much can a state ignore the feds before it becomes problematic. I reckon "when the money stops flowing" is pretty close to the answer, DC having little use for the several states apart from what can be squeezed from them.

And again, the specifics of how to make it work or why it may not be a good idea are not what I'm after here.

Ignore the feds in what way? As noted, some states already do ignore the federal government in some respects, such as refusing to cooperate with or make data obtained by the state available to ICE. Can you give a hypothetical example or two?

ETA:
Quote:

Originally Posted by KarlGauss (Post 22131671)
Do National Guardsmen/women swear allegiance to their state, the nation, the constitution, or some combination of the above?

Whether individual states have additional oaths, IDK, but as the National Guard is governed at least in part by US Code, they are required to take the same (or at least very similar) oath as other members of the armed forces. They do take on a blurb about the state and governor in addition to the usual United States/President part.

With that said, I’m not sure why it matters. At the end of the day, individuas will do what they want, subject to threat of (and perhaps actual) punishment.

Bijou Drains 02-10-2020 08:00 PM

A virginia county, Prince Edward, shut down public schools rather than integrate in 1959. White students got vouchers to pay for private schools, black students got nothing. They did not reopen until a court ordered them to open in 1963. Some black students moved to other places to go to school. They lived with friends, relatives, etc. It was part of Massive Resistance.

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

Pantastic 02-10-2020 08:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya (Post 22131662)
I'll clarify. I'm asking about a passive aggressive secession. Specifically, how much can a state ignore the feds before it becomes problematic. I reckon "when the money stops flowing" is pretty close to the answer, DC having little use for the several states apart from what can be squeezed from them.


I don't think you grasp the complexity of what you're wanting the state to do. For example, individual citizens and corporations, not the state, have an obligation to pay federal income and social security taxes. How is the state actually going to go about stopping income tax payments - are they going to forbid businesses from sending their witholdings to the Federal government, and intercept mail from private citizens? Most of this stuff is automated, and the money handling for multi-state businesses may not even happen in California. How will they 'passive aggressively' enforce this - are they going to start interfering with interstate electronic communications and blocking mail carriers? That's 'aggressive', not 'passive aggressive'. What are they going to do about the Federal Employees, including military personnel, in the state who's money and witholding come directly from the Federal government? What about people who live in more than one state, how much of their tax are they going to not pay?

"Not paying taxes" requires outright aggression against regular citizens, corporations, and/or Federal employees, and is something simply done. Similarly, California 'offering to pay its own way' is hugely complicated - how is California going to refuse to pay social security taxes but also refuse to pay social security? And how do you handle the fact that it's tied to individuals, not the state - does passive-aggressive California plan to take over Social Security Payments for people who worked in CA but move out of the state when they retire?

nelliebly 02-10-2020 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bijou Drains (Post 22131702)
A virginia county, Prince Edward, shut down public schools rather than integrate in 1959. White students got vouchers to pay for private schools, black students got nothing. They did not reopen until a court ordered them to open in 1963. Some black students moved to other places to go to school. They lived with friends, relatives, etc. It was part of Massive Resistance.

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

I take it your point is that a federal court had supremacy, and Prince Edward recognized it.

TokyoBayer 02-10-2020 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KarlGauss (Post 22131671)
Do National Guardsmen/women swear allegiance to their state, the nation, the constitution, or some combination of the above?

For the Little Rock Nine, originally the governor ordered the national guardsmen to prevent the black students from attending the high school. As wiki says:
Quote:

When integration began in September 4, 1957, the Arkansas National Guard was called in to "preserve the peace". Originally at orders of the governor, they were meant to prevent the black students from entering due to claims that there was "imminent danger of tumult, riot and breach of peace" at the integration. However, President Eisenhower issued Executive order 10730, which federalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered them to support the integration on September 23 of that year, after which they protected the African American students.[3]
I would imagine a similar situation if the Bear Republic were to try to actually resist. The order federalizing the national guard is a legal order so they would need to follow it.

Little Nemo 02-11-2020 12:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya (Post 22131662)
I'll clarify. I'm asking about a passive aggressive secession. Specifically, how much can a state ignore the feds before it becomes problematic. I reckon "when the money stops flowing" is pretty close to the answer, DC having little use for the several states apart from what can be squeezed from them.

And again, the specifics of how to make it work or why it may not be a good idea are not what I'm after here.

I'm going to say there's essentially zero room for what you're describing. If you have a functioning federal government and a state just stops doing all of the things that federal government commands, the federal government is going to notice it almost immediately and ask the state government what's going on. At that point, the state government is going to have to make a choice; either declare itself independent or acknowledge that it's still a part of the United States. There's no middle ground to dwell in.

The only exception would be if something happened to the federal government and it stopped functioning. Let's say terrorists blow up Washington and every other major city in the other forty-nine states but leave California untouched for some reason. In a scenario like that all of the things the federal government would normally do wouldn't be happening and the state of California would effectively have to begin functioning on its own. California would have a de facto independence without having to decide whether it considered itself to be an independent nation or if it was still part of the temporarily non-functioning United States.

Little Nemo 02-11-2020 12:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pantastic (Post 22131763)
I don't think you grasp the complexity of what you're wanting the state to do. For example, individual citizens and corporations, not the state, have an obligation to pay federal income and social security taxes. How is the state actually going to go about stopping income tax payments - are they going to forbid businesses from sending their witholdings to the Federal government, and intercept mail from private citizens? Most of this stuff is automated, and the money handling for multi-state businesses may not even happen in California. How will they 'passive aggressively' enforce this - are they going to start interfering with interstate electronic communications and blocking mail carriers? That's 'aggressive', not 'passive aggressive'. What are they going to do about the Federal Employees, including military personnel, in the state who's money and witholding come directly from the Federal government? What about people who live in more than one state, how much of their tax are they going to not pay?

"Not paying taxes" requires outright aggression against regular citizens, corporations, and/or Federal employees, and is something simply done. Similarly, California 'offering to pay its own way' is hugely complicated - how is California going to refuse to pay social security taxes but also refuse to pay social security? And how do you handle the fact that it's tied to individuals, not the state - does passive-aggressive California plan to take over Social Security Payments for people who worked in CA but move out of the state when they retire?

I agree. If you live in California and your state government tells you that you can stop paying your federal taxes, you're going to want to know a lot more. You'll be breaking federal laws. Is the state government saying it will act to prevent the federal government from enforcing its laws against you? Or will the state government just stand by while federal marshals show up and arrest you?

Asuka 02-11-2020 02:09 AM

Doesn't the US government completely control the California-Mexico border? What if to torpedo independence they just completely opened up the border and let every immigrant that wanted to complete access to California thus creating a new logistical hell for them to deal with?

It happened in that one book where South Korea invades the United States after all, they opened up the entire US-Mexican border to get the National Guard's hands full as they invaded the rest of the United States.

Bijou Drains 02-11-2020 06:04 AM

Out west there are many states where the feds own a large percent of the land.

There is a right wing movement that says only sheriffs have legal rights to enforce laws. Those people don't even recognize state police or any state laws unless enforced by the local sheriff. Many of them are also white supremacists or neo Nazis. Also a good number of them are members of Christian Identity movement . Most of them live out west.

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

Pantastic 02-11-2020 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 22131974)
I agree. If you live in California and your state government tells you that you can stop paying your federal taxes, you're going to want to know a lot more. You'll be breaking federal laws. Is the state government saying it will act to prevent the federal government from enforcing its laws against you? Or will the state government just stand by while federal marshals show up and arrest you?

And note that, under current, decades old and enforced, US law if you are a US citizen you are required to file a tax return and possibly pay taxes even if you don't reside in the US. Banks have to report information about US Citizens to the IRS, and if they don't then US banks are forbidden to do business with them which tends to be a big deal(US banks will lose their right to act as banks and face criminal charges). Even if the US government said "Alright, PAifornia is now an independent country", the people living there would owe US taxes unless they renounced their citizenship.

Tired and Cranky 02-11-2020 08:54 AM

Pantastic seems to get it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 22131973)
I'm going to say there's essentially zero room for what you're describing. If you have a functioning federal government and a state just stops doing all of the things that federal government commands, the federal government is going to notice it almost immediately and ask the state government what's going on. At that point, the state government is going to have to make a choice; either declare itself independent or acknowledge that it's still a part of the United States. There's no middle ground to dwell in.

There really isn't a lot that the federal government "commands" the states to do. The federal government generally does its own thing with its own workers. The states do their own things individually. The regular business of the federal government doesn't rely on the states to do very much. The state does not enforce federal law; federal law enforcement agencies do.

In some cases, the federal government's work requires companies or people in the states to do things. Very often, in fact. Car makers have to build cars that comply with federal safety and emissions standards. Banks have to report suspected money laundering and criminal activity. Citizens have to not grow pot, make crystal meth, or trade in handguns across state borders. If companies or citizens in California do these things despite federal law, I don't know what California will do to stop the federal government from enforcing the laws as it already does. Pot is probably the best example. Although California won't arrest people for simple pot possession, the federal government can do so any time it chooses.

There are many areas where states and the federal government cooperate willingly. The national guard (as discussed above) is one example. Medicaid is mostly funded by the federal government and jointly administered along with the states. The federal government gives grants for states to build interstate highways. In order to be eligible for the highway funds, states have to agree to certain things, like a minimum drinking age of 21. If California stops doing those things, it will also give up the highway funds. That is its choice. Many states are currently giving up extra Medicaid funding because they don't want to expand Medicaid eligibility. Their choice.

The big thing that the federal government commands states to do is protect their citizens' federal constitutional rights. If states stop doing that, federal courts will order that states do so. If California refuses to comply with federal court orders to respect constitutional rights, the federal courts can start jailing the people responsible for contempt and seizing assets from states as necessary to enforce those orders. What do you propose California will do if federal courts order such actions? If it involves breaking more federal laws, the federal government will respond with more criminal enforcement actions. How do you think "passive" resistance works in this case?

Bijou Drains 02-11-2020 08:56 AM

there are people who refuse to pay federal taxes for various nutty reasons. They are pretty much all convicted and some do prison time. Wesley Snipes served 3 years for failing to file returns.

txjim 02-11-2020 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silenus (Post 22131552)
Not if anybody took 5 seconds to think about it. California on its own is the 5th/6th largest economy on the planet. The Republic under Republicans just can't take that kind of hit. Plus losing the top 2 container ports in the country. Plus the San Joaquin Valley. They'd all starve.

How much of this economy is tied to federal activities? As an example, take a look at the area surrounding LAX and count the defense contractors. Multiply this across the state and I suspect that the economy figures goes down a bit.

Also consider that this work and these jobs are not exportable, Northrup Grumman and their ilk cannot decide to move a great deal of development to India or China.

RTFirefly 02-11-2020 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya (Post 22131118)
So what if...what if Gavin just said, no. California will be its own thing, Cali people & businesses won't pay federal income tax, and federal laws will not be enforced. You get the idea. Independence is simply "accepted" and not declared as such, and Cali people simply continue on their more or less normal day to day routines.

As Pantastic pointed out, the Feds collect Federal taxes, and as you say, individuals and businesses pay them. Is CA going to actively prevent the Feds from prosecuting Californians who refuse to pay income tax? If not, I don't really see what CA would be doing that would actually change anything in the Federal-state relationship. A state can say it's seceding, but until it does something that throws a wrench into the Federal-state relationship (like SC firing on Ft. Sumter), it's just words.

ETA: Looks like Tired and Cranky already said pretty much the same thing.

Pantastic 02-11-2020 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by txjim (Post 22132434)
How much of this economy is tied to federal activities? As an example, take a look at the area surrounding LAX and count the defense contractors. Multiply this across the state and I suspect that the economy figures goes down a bit.

And how much is dependent on open trade with the US? Putting tariffs, customs, need for travel/work VISAs, and the like on all traffic coming to and from the US would put a big dent in the CA economy. People would be less likely to use CA ports for shipping in the long run and the US would build up alternate ports in a controlled area as it would be more expensive and inconvenient. All of that agriculture commerce going back and forth suddenly gets more difficult and expensive, and there well might be more 'buy American' on agricultural goods. A newly minted California might be able to join NAFTA, but there's no guarantee of it, especially if the exit is a 'fuck you!' 'no, fuck YOU!' cycle.

Little Nemo 02-11-2020 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tired and Cranky (Post 22132381)
There really isn't a lot that the federal government "commands" the states to do. The federal government generally does its own thing with its own workers. The states do their own things individually. The regular business of the federal government doesn't rely on the states to do very much. The state does not enforce federal law; federal law enforcement agencies do.

I think we're just looking at a semantic difference here. The federal government commands the states in the sense that the federal government can tell the states it is enforcing a federal law within the states and no state can say no.

So if California told its citizens that they could stop paying federal taxes and the United States government enforced federal laws by arresting people in California who were not paying their federal taxes, it would reveal the pretense of California's declaration. The only way the declaration would have any meaning is if California took some steps to actively prevent federal officials from acting within California.

That's a step beyond merely "ignoring" the federal government; that's actively resisting the federal government. So I stand by what I said; there's no middle ground where a state can passively be independent. A state has to either be actively independent or not independent at all.

Tim R. Mortiss 02-11-2020 03:39 PM

Isn't this exactly what Sanctuary States and Sanctuary Cities are doing? Ignoring Federal laws? If so, then the answer to the question is, the Federal Government isn't doing much at all. If they tried to withhold funding as coercion, it would certainly end up in court.

gnoitall 02-11-2020 04:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss (Post 22133360)
Isn't this exactly what Sanctuary States and Sanctuary Cities are doing? Ignoring Federal laws? If so, then the answer to the question is, the Federal Government isn't doing much at all. If they tried to withhold funding as coercion, it would certainly end up in court.

There are no federal laws explicitly criminalizing or penalizing municipal or state sanctuary actions. Most of the movement has been bluster regarding executive orders of unknown enforceability.

Pantastic 02-11-2020 04:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss (Post 22133360)
Isn't this exactly what Sanctuary States and Sanctuary Cities are doing? Ignoring Federal laws? If so, then the answer to the question is, the Federal Government isn't doing much at all. If they tried to withhold funding as coercion, it would certainly end up in court.

No. Sanctuary cities are not in general 'ignoring' laws in the sense of disobeying laws, they are declining to enforce federal laws themselves, declining to share information that some federal agencies want, and declining to hold and turn people over to federal authorities without a warrant or court order. There are things that the DOJ, ICE, and other agencies want local and state LEOs and governments to do, but there is no law compelling them to do so, and such a law would probably run afoul of constitutional issues.

The Federal government can't withold 'funding' in general, like highway money or social security paymenrs, as there are laws dictating how those funds are distributed. Also the agencies that distribute those funds don't typically answer to ICE and other immigration agencies or to the DOJ; someone from ICE telling them not to send money to city X means as much to their actions as me telling them to send money directly to me. There are some specific grants from the Justice Department that are semi-discretionary, and those grants have been withheld in some cases (see link below). So the Federal government has opted to withhold specific funding as leverage, it has gone to court, and has been ruled that they can do so with that sort of money.

https://www.courthousenews.com/justi...e-cooperation/

RioRico 02-11-2020 06:58 PM

Unlax. Won't be no Calexit anytime soon, nor any other secessions - unless Unforeseen Events occur. If a false-flag attack or other manufactured excuse provokes a presidential declaration of martial law, might states resist such a fruit of false pretenses? Can the military be trusted to obey federal orders?

What might drive the breakup and balkanization of the US, besides the nuking of DC? Might a POTUS waging legalized war on states that voted for rivals justify unilateral divorce?

Shodan 02-12-2020 08:57 AM

We're not talking about a false-flag operation. We're talking about the governor of California buying into the whole "sovereign citizen' mindset, where everyone else has to obey the law and pay taxes but they don't have to.

Read the whole silly Calexit thread, it's pretty much the same thing.

Regards,
Shodan

silenus 02-12-2020 09:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RioRico (Post 22133708)
Might a POTUS waging legalized war on states that voted for rivals justify unilateral divorce?

I don't think even that would lead to divorce. It would, however, lead to some family squabbles that would be epic. As a hypothetical: you can't force a company to sell to people in a given state. President starts getting hinky with California, then California stops exporting food to selected states that support him. A general "Boycott Iowa" movement begins. Oregon, Washington and Hawaii join in. Pressure builds on the President to back down or he loses key votes (assuming there is a president and not a Dear Leader.) States can't wage war on each other, but there is nothing that says they have to export to them.

Inigo Montoya 02-12-2020 10:13 AM

Silenus, I never know if you're just brilliant, or if I'm even more dim-witted than I thought. The whole concept of infighting via interstate commerce seems to have the potential to get the result I was looking for in the OP (forcing more reasonable governance). And as a bonus I now have to look a little closer at the past 20 years to see if my kids ever manipulated me by fighting with each other.

Shodan 02-12-2020 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silenus (Post 22134663)
I don't think even that would lead to divorce. It would, however, lead to some family squabbles that would be epic. As a hypothetical: you can't force a company to sell to people in a given state. President starts getting hinky with California, then California stops exporting food to selected states that support him. A general "Boycott Iowa" movement begins. Oregon, Washington and Hawaii join in. Pressure builds on the President to back down or he loses key votes (assuming there is a president and not a Dear Leader.) States can't wage war on each other, but there is nothing that says they have to export to them.

Interstate commerce is regulated by the federal government, specifically Congress. Once some state government starts taking any official action to outlaw shipping to another state, Congress is going to get stroppy pretty quick. Especially if the state government is ordering its citizens to breach their contracts. I.e. some company in Iowa has an order for 500 tons of fruit from a California company, and the state says "no you can't ship that" it's an order to violate the law, and those orders aren't legit.

Plus, the pressure isn't going to be all on one side. CA companies start losing market share, and Iowa gets its goods from somewhere else. Or companies in Georgia buy the CA goods and ship them to Iowa (at a markup, of course). What's California or Hawaii or Washington state gonna do about it? Sue them in federal court?

Regards,
Shodan

Pantastic 02-12-2020 10:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silenus (Post 22134663)
I don't think even that would lead to divorce. It would, however, lead to some family squabbles that would be epic. As a hypothetical: you can't force a company to sell to people in a given state. President starts getting hinky with California, then California stops exporting food to selected states that support him. A general "Boycott Iowa" movement begins. Oregon, Washington and Hawaii join in. Pressure builds on the President to back down or he loses key votes (assuming there is a president and not a Dear Leader.) States can't wage war on each other, but there is nothing that says they have to export to them.

Quote:

[The Congress shall have Power] 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
This doesn't work. Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution gives the power to regulate interstate commerce to the US Congress, so California cannot legally stop anyone in the state from exporting to another state, and any laws they attempted to pass doing so would be rapidly struck down. The Supreme Court has interpreted the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce very liberally and the right of states to interfere with it very narrowly, there is no question that a state attempting to outright boycott selling goods to another state would be shut down almost immediately.

If you're expecting all large multi-state Agri-business and shipping corporations and all smaller in-state agricultural operations to support losing huge amounts of money to protest something Trump does, it wouldn't qualify as 'California' refusing to export food, and is just plain not going to happen. More than 1/3 of California voted for Trump or Johnson even though it was clear there was no chance of anyone but Clinton taking the state, and a lot of that 1/3 of the state are in the more rural areas - where the agriculture happens. Expecting people who vote for Trump to voluntarily join some kind of Trump boycott at great expense to themselves is just outright stupid.

And in general, getting public support for trying to starve the 41% of Iowans who voted for Clinton in order to punish Trump for something would be a huge uphill battle, even if it wasn't blatantly illegal, extremely costly for the people involved, and required the support of Trump voters to happen.

Pantastic 02-12-2020 10:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shodan (Post 22134702)
Plus, the pressure isn't going to be all on one side.

It's not even going to be all on one side within the state. Trump won almost 1/3 of the votes in California even though voting for Trump in CA is fairly pointless, so the assumption that 'California' (especially rural California and not the large cities) is going to act in unison against Trump makes no sense.

Little Nemo 02-12-2020 10:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silenus (Post 22134663)
I don't think even that would lead to divorce. It would, however, lead to some family squabbles that would be epic. As a hypothetical: you can't force a company to sell to people in a given state. President starts getting hinky with California, then California stops exporting food to selected states that support him. A general "Boycott Iowa" movement begins. Oregon, Washington and Hawaii join in. Pressure builds on the President to back down or he loses key votes (assuming there is a president and not a Dear Leader.) States can't wage war on each other, but there is nothing that says they have to export to them.

Putting aside the legal issues others have mentioned, how would California do this as a practical measure? Would they stop and search trucks and trains at the state line? And if the driver says "Iowa? No, I'm delivering this truckload of oranges to Missouri." how are these border guards supposed to know if he's lying?

He might not even be lying. If California tried to cut off Iowa from food sales, all it would do is create an opportunity for dealers in other states to buy Californian food and then resell it in Iowa after it left California's control.

Shodan 02-12-2020 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pantastic (Post 22134724)
It's not even going to be all on one side within the state. Trump won almost 1/3 of the votes in California even though voting for Trump in CA is fairly pointless, so the assumption that 'California' (especially rural California and not the large cities) is going to act in unison against Trump makes no sense.

And even if you voted for Hillary in California, are you going to sacrifice your business in some useless protest?

Regards,
Shodan

silenus 02-12-2020 10:45 AM

Forget food. It gets that bad Google can just "fail to recognize" any ISP from Iowa.

Shodan, if it gets that bad, then yes, I expect that some businesses would react that way. But we are talking the President waging legal war against a state, not the state instituting the struggle. As for the constitutional issue - that's a non-starter. Regulation does not and cannot require a company to do business in a particular state.

Pantastic 02-12-2020 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by silenus (Post 22134764)
Forget food. It gets that bad Google can just "fail to recognize" any ISP from Iowa.

You seriously think Google is going to engage in an illegal fight against an oppressive government that can easily and legally send in LEOs to their headquarters and seize all of their assets when they're perfectly willing to work with the Chinese government to enable their censorship of information about Chinese government oppression even though the Chinese government can't possibly touch them?

Quote:

Shodan, if it gets that bad, then yes, I expect that some businesses would react that way. But we are talking the President waging legal war against a state, not the state instituting the struggle.
The idea that Trump is going to have enough support to wage 'legalized war' against states, but no support at all from the 1/3 of California that voted for him, and that California will be able to successfully engage in something that's already completely illegal without the crazy-Trump-State war going on without consequences is just bizarre. This scenario just doesn't make any sense.

Quote:

As for the constitutional issue - that's a non-starter. Regulation does not and cannot require a company to do business in a particular state.
Your scenario involved California forbidding companies from doing business in another state, not anyone requiring companies to do business in a particular state. Or that Trump-voting agricultural companies are, for some reason, going to voluntarily lose a ton of money to oppose the guy they voted for in the first place.


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