Could Texas Actually Secede From the United States?
November 14, 2012 6:07 AM EST
More than 72,000 people have signed on a petition calling for the secession of Texas from the United States, and now the bWhite House will officially be required to form some sort of response to the inquiry.
The Obama administration likely didn’t think it would be responding to secession petitions when it created the “We the People” section of the White House website, which allows citizens to post online petitions and promises to respond to those that receive more than 25,000 signatures.
But just how possible would it actually be for Texas to secede from the union in this day and age?
Possible, but extremely unlikely, according to Jason Sorens, a political science professor at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, who specializes in secessionism.
“Basically, secession isn't banned by the Constitution, and the controlling precedent remains Texas v. White, which says that unilateral secession is illegal, and that secession would require the consent of the United States as a whole,” Sorens said in an e-mail.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1869 decision in Texas v. White came during the aftermath of the American Civil War, the one time in the nation’s history when a handful of individual states successfully broke off from the union to form their own. In the case, the Reconstruction government of Texas claimed the United States bonds owned by Texas had been illegally sold by the Confederate government during the civil war, and therefore subsequent transfers were also invalid.
But the court ruled that Texas had remained a state since joining the union in 1845, despite seceding to join the Confederate States of America. The court also held that the Constitution does not permit states to unilaterally secede from the union.
“It's not clear what would be required to satisfy that consent criterion, but presumably an act of Congress would do it,” Sorens said.
In 2010 the Alaska Supreme Court blocked a ballot initiative that would have allowed residents to vote on secession for that very reason, ruling that secession is “clearly unconstitutional” and because of that, citizens cannot effect constitutional changes through initiatives.
Depending on the poll, anywhere between 10 to 25 percent of Americans believe their state has the right to secede. But that’s unlikely to occur without congressional actions. As the second-most populous state in the nation and the 15th largest economy in the world, it’s unlikely Congress is going to let Texas disengage itself from the union anytime soon.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Matmo Leaves 32k Customers w/o Electricity in Taiwan, Weakens After Landing in China
Join the Conversation
- Ideological Support Swells for Scottish Independence
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Dutch Wants Putin's Daughter Maria Deported to Russia From Holland
- New Zealand and China Decide to Boost Defence Ties
- Gaza Crisis: 695 Dead & 4,500 Injured, UN Accuses Israel of War Crimes
- Scientists Warn MERS Virus Could be Spread Airborne
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- HTC Google Nexus 8 Release Date Imminent with New Nexus 7 Deals, Two New Tablets Soon
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales