Should a state or city have the right to secede from the USA?

Okay, first of all I want to say I understand why secession is illegal I mean I can understand why the government wouldn’t want to lose a valuable piece of land and tax-paying citizens. Shouldn’t a governor or mayor with the majority vote of the people under their jurisdiction have the right to part ways from the United States? Why not?

I know about the Civil War and how the Union fought to keep the South and I know the South was very wrong in there stance on slavery and I’m glad the Union fought and kept them because that was for a greater good. How about now, though? No moral justification to fight for slavery around now. I mean, look at the Bush Administration, a lot of people are divided over him. Another thing, how can the USA reconcile without looking hypocritical with how they seceded from the English?

Okay, what would happen if a state seceded? How would they be able to fight off the USA? Could they? How about using guerilla tactics and wearing out the USA. A town could do the same thing. It would just be funny if a mayor called for secession and no one agreed with him he would probably be arrested or thrown in a mental asylum? That outcome is more likely, right?

As an aside, I love the USA but Bush just pisses me off. I would never join a revolution I would just wait it out until the next election where I’m voting again for a Democrat (please don’t make this a Bush bashing thread).

Sorry, I meant city not town. I think a town would just be crushed by the USA.


Yeah, it would be almost impossible. I’m not saying a state or city can beat the USA but wear them out to the point where they just give up or the American populace grows tired of the conflict.

I still whole-heartedly support The Conch Republic.

Unless the governer has a unanimous vote, then that majority is unlawfully depriving the minority citizens of some pretty major rights under the Constitution. Property, freedom of movement, the right to vote, all kinds of really important stuff that would be seriously jeopardized by such a move.

Okay, first off, you’re assuming that the US constitution is the only valid source of ‘major rights’ that citizens can have. Of course, the republic of Rhodes’ island is probably not going to have the same rights in its constitution as the USA, otherwise what would be the point of seceding?? But saying that the US constitution is automatically better, no matter what kind of constitution a hypothetical secession state might draw up isn’t supportable.

Also, any change of political boundaries could be seen as ‘unfair and unlawful’ by whatever minority was involved and didn’t agree. When areas were joining the USA as states, did they all have unanimous consent of the population? I think that’s highly unlikely.

Just playing devil’s advocate here… I don’t support easy or simple secession… but neither do I think that a political action undertaken by the residents of a region should automatically be irreversible by those same people… or by their descendents X generations later. shrugs.

First of all, secession is **not ** illegal. *Texas v. White * which is the court case that outlaws secession is based on a faulty interpretation of the structure of the Constitution, dismisses the status of switching from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution, is self-contradictory, and an aspect of the ruling (who determines the authorized government of the state) is flawed. It should be read for what it is - an effort by a Radical Republican [Salmon P. Chase] to punish the states that seceded. This case could very easily be overturned.

However, even if you accept *Texas v. White * as a legal determination of secession, Chase allows that states may be allowed to secede if agreed to by the other states.

We have a switchboard at work. If you dial a number that hasn’t been assigned to an internal phone it automatically rings through to the switchboard. If I happen to be the person nearby, I answer and tell the person they dialed the wrong number.

Several people have tried to argue with me that they dialled the right number. My response is, “well, the phone thinks you dialed the wrong number.”

And here’s my point. If Congress and the President and the Supreme Court all say something is illegal, it is illegal. They’re the people that make that decision and when they decide, it’s the correct answer because they say it is. So you can say that you don’t think it should be illegal or that you don’t like that it’s illegal or that under other circumstances it might not be illegal. But you can’t meaningfully say that it’s not illegal.

Next time read my entire post. I point out (even quote) that Chase allowed that states could secede with the consent of the other states. Therefore secession is not illegal, just the Confederate States’ method of secession. If for example Hawaii were to pass and the states voted to allow Hawaii to leave, then Hawaii’s secession would be legal under Texas v. White.

I can argue that *Texas v. White * should be overturned and you can argue that the other 49 states would never allow a state to secede, but the fact remains that if you accept that *Texas v. White * makes secession illegal, then it also allows a way out.

Maybe you should read your entire post. Maybe even the entire decision as I have. The section you quoted refers to “an indissoluble relation” “perpetual union” “it was final” “as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble” “no place for reconsideration, or revocation”. Yet you managed to sail by all of that and find five words that you feel prove the opposite of everything that went before it.

(Excuse me as I reply to the OP)

Secession is generally, I think, morally wrong. If a state can withdrawal from the Union, cannot a county secede from the state? May a city cut its bounds to the country? May a street refuse to see its neighbors as fellow-citizens? Why then cannot a little old lady with a house full of cats declare her independence and refuse to pay for the local schools?

Secession would break down the harmony of our lives. Would it not be easier for Whites, Christians, Vegetarians and Whatnot to simply declare self-soverignty and not have to deal with those who disagree?

Man is a social creature. Secession attacks society. It leads to conflict. Why should I be forced to pay to rebuild New Orleans? I declare independence! What is that Outsider doing in my neighborhood? Run him off! I am not bound by the rules of the city!

What kind of people shall we be when Anglophones and Francophones cannot find common ground?

Nope, Secession is divisive. I am generally opposed to it.

Secession is illegal; the mandate against it was enforced not judicially, but militarily. So the question is asked, and answered, emphatically.

But as far as Texas v. White goes, you can’t use the language from Justice Chase’s opinion about what would happen if a state tried to leave and all other states agreed to let it leave as controlling. That language is obiter dicta, entirely irrelevant to the case before the Court at the time.

The question of the lawfulness of secession from the United States was submitted to the battlefield in 1861-1865, and decisively answered there. The Supreme Court, poking through the wreckage afterwards, enshrined in law what had already been decided by force of arms. The Union is perpetual, and should remain so.

By law, custom, ethical consideration, legislative powers or judiciary decision? No.

Morality, vox populi or force? Sure.

Clearly, the minimum requirement for secession in the US would be either a military victory by the seceeding territory, or a constitutional amendment recognizing the secession.

All you need for secession is for 2/3 of the house, 2/3 of the senate and 3/4 of the state legislatures to ratify the secession and it would be perfectly legal and constitutional.

Actually, I’m not. My post was in response to the OP’s question (paraphrased) “Should we allow a majority vote in a state to secede?” My argument was that a majority is not sufficient, not because the Constitution embodies the best of all possible political structures, but because I have certain rights under it that must be protected.

My mention of liberty, property, etc. was not well explained, but the gist of it is this: if my state should try to secede and I do not want to, I’d either be forced to stay and abandon my US citizenship or leave and (probably) abandon my property. Neither of those are particularly palatable to me, so I do not believe that states should be able to unlaterally secede.

Areas under the control of the U.S. are entitled to declare their independence with the consent and authorization of Congress; this was settled in 1935-46 in relation to the Philippines. I would expect that if, e.g., Hawaii sought independence, Congress would be entitled to decide whether or not to permit it to declare independence. Absent that, Texas v White would apply; it is the settled law of the land, pending a reversal on an appropriate real case.

Exactly. That is usually what the word “except” means. So Chase does allow that the Union can allow states to leave through the other states. If you are taking a class and for the final the teacher says, “You cannot bring any books, papers, previous tests, homeork, class notes, or anything else *except * a 3x5 card with notes” does that mean that you cannot bring anything to assist you on the final?

I would say that this is a faulty analogy. States maintain a certain level of soverignty and some states like Texas, Hawaii, and (arguably California) were independent nations before choosing to be one of the United States (notice that no state is called United Counties or United Cities). Counties are admistrative districts within state control. A state can eliminate a county or change its boundries without that counties concurrence. The federal government cannot do these thing with states. I don’t know about other states, but in California a section of a city can secede from the original city provided the voters in the section approve it *and * the voters in the rest of the city must approve it . . .

Just as Chase laid out for a state to legally secede in Texas v. White. (lol)