Inspired by the debate on Scottish independence, if a U.S. state kept passing hugely unconstitutional laws and generally being a massive nuisance and drain on the rest of the Union, are there any provisions to boot it out of the U.S? Could Congress just rescind its admission of the state?
This has probably been asked before but search-fu is not my strongpoint.
I always wanted to ask something similar but intended to put it more general: Is there any mechanism by which the US Federal government can intervene if a state becomes dysfunctional, i. e. they fail to organise elections, government agencies stop working, the judicial system breaks down because judges are not payed, the posts of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State are vacant etc. ?
But isn’t it true that the 14th Amendment specifically addresses the issue of state governments discriminating against some segments of the population (obviously African Americans, given the context)? Would it also apply if the state just doesn’t get it’s act together, with no ill intention?
Some states are already pretty close to bankruptcy, so maybe the day isn’t too far away when state officials and state employees just walk away because they are not paid anymore?
Consider Art. IV, Sec. 4: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.”
Another problem with expelling a state would be that it would be contrary to Art. V of the Constitution, which provides that “…no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”
The proper, if boring, answer to all untested legal propositions is, “nobody knows.” Everything depends on the exact specifics of the case and no hypothetical can begin to address that.
Even trying to imagine the specifics of a world in which a state gets to that point is impossible. How could it happen? If you can’t answer the how down to the last detail, then you can’t answer the question.
And if you answered the question with a yes, then what? Would the U.S. want a completely dysfunctional independent nation sitting inside its boundaries? That’s madness. If you can imagine a situation in which the U.S. would do this, then you several steps beyond zombie apocalypse and the Constitution is no longer in force.
While having a US state becoming completely dysfunctional seems an unlikely scenario, something like this happening on the local level doesn’t seem too far-fetched: One could perhaps imagine the political system of a town or a county disintegrating to the point where the state has to intervene?
This is easier, from a theoretical view, because towns and counties only have legal power that’s given to them by the state, so the state can clearly decide to take that legal power back or restrict it in some manner (as opposed to the state-federal relationship, where the states have their own legal power, independent of the federal government).
It’s also easier from a practical view, because it’s happened : states have many times taken over various towns’ functions (usually because of financial problems, but that’s a typical symptom of a disfunctional political system).
I’d love to know what sort of scenario might convince a state to give up its Senate seats.
We could use Reconstruction as a precedent. If, say, California’s government disintegrated to the point where basic services were not being provided, then eventually the federal government would have to pass a law allowing the creation of some kind of “emergency government.” This would most likely involve tossing out the old state constitution and imposing a new one that removed whatever entrenched problems led to the collapse of the state government in the first place.