Apparently, after some digging, I found a partial answer. It isn’t prohibited. However, the US congress would have to bless it, as well as the state legislatures of the states involved.
However, the rules are a bit fuzzy as far as I can tell. Let’s say that NY and Pennsylvania want to join to create New Pennsylvania. Both state legislatures vote yes, but congress would have to approve it. It doesn’t state how this process is accomplished (simple majority vote, both houses, etc.) The one thing I didn’t see was that the President’s signature would be required.
I assume it would be, but it’s not a new law… it’s not a treaty… so would it?
So, simple majority, and no presidential signature?
If so, the next questions arises. Why wouldn’t states consider this? Assuming you could get the individual states to ratify this, getting it through congress would be a simple case of mathematics. So, in essence, a new state could be created that would essentially become another country.
which makes me wonder why the south didn’t try this before secession and the Civil War (I assume they didn’t have the critical mass of votes, but I’ll look this up later).
Yes, on the same terms. That is, with the consent of Congress, of the legislature of the “parent” state and of the legislature of the “new” state.
West Virginia was in fact carved out of Virginia, wasn’t it?
There’s nothing to say that a state has to be contiguous. Massachussets used to be non-contiguous, with a northern part and a southern part separated by New Hampshire, until the northern part was hived off in 1820 as the state of Maine.
West Virginia was a very special case. When the legislature of Virginia voted to secede, the minority that remained loyal to the Union met in Wheeling as the legislature of Virginia, took note that many members had ‘resigned’ by voting to secede, and petitioned Congress to admit the Unionist remnant as the State of West Virginia. Effectively, “Virginia” – that part of it that remained in the Union – asked Congress to partition itself into two states: the rebellious east and south and the loyal northwest. They complied with the Constitutional requirements, insofar as they were able at a time of rebellion.
Look at the Delmarva peninsula. You cannot get by land to the MD or VA part except by passing through DE. Except for the Bronx, you cannot get to NYC or Long Island except by crossing water. And then there are the various Hawaian islands.
The formation of WV was problematic to say the least. As described, the legislators from VA who remained loyal, asked congress for approval and got it. After the war, the newly constituted state of VA had to agree in order to rejoin the union. They also had to accept the 13-15th amendments. What would have happened had they refused? Presumably remained under military occupation.
When I took US history in HS we learned that Congress had preapproved at the time TX joined the union, the possibility of it splitting into as many as five states. Imagine ten senators from Texas!
Could states agree to develop common tax laws and share revenue, develop a common set of state laws, and agree to count the populations as a whole for purposes of electoral college voting? Hence becoming a sort of defacto single state?
Doubtful. Whatever they agreed to on a state level, the two entities would remain separate in the eyes of Congress (and the federal judiciary).
And there is no telling what the representation would be. Because of the way population is divided after a census, whether you round remainders up or down or whichway will determine how many House seats a state gets. Combining populations would change that entirely. See Methods of Apportionment.
And any single entity would lose two Senate seats, which is the deal breaker.