Think on: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Declaration of Independence
Leave it to Tumbleweed to tackle what many regard as politically incorrect issues. How about secession?
There exists a core of folks who ardently support “dissolving political bands.” Anyone tuned to a broad range of today’s media, hear rumors of secession from Texas and California and even states like Maryland calling for splitting off its westernmost more politically conservative counties. Recall that West Virginia was separated from Virginia in 1861 and accepted into the Union in 1863. In any case, a recent Zogby Strategies poll found that fully 39 percent of U.S. citizens believe that each state has the ultimate say over its destiny, and 68 percent of voters are open to the idea of secession. Tumbleweed feels that’s a rather startling revelation and a sad commentary on citizens’ views as to the state of our nation.
There are, of course, historical considerations as to the constitutionality of secession. For one thing, would the Supreme Court of the United States have jurisdiction over a now separate nation? The question was never really fully litigated, despite the Civil War and follow-on reconstructionist actions. The Texas v. White (74 U.S. 700, 703 ) decision of 1869 held that individual states could not unilaterally secede from the Union and that acts of the insurgent Texas legislature in 1861 were “absolutely null.” That recognition having been the case; it is seen as ironic that President Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation readmitting Texas to the Union in 1870. If they never left, how could they be readmitted. Actually, it was to put a new Texas Constitution in place. And notably, the U.S. Supreme Court led by Lincoln former cabinet member Salmon Chase was at a loss to reference any text from the U.S. Constitution in the Texas v. White decision, because the Constitution is fully silent on whether states can withdraw from the Union. A 2006 opinion letter from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated, “The answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.” With due respect to Justice Scalia, did the Civil War actually resolve any Constitutional issue? The Texas Constitution contains no provision for seceding from the Union, yet it’s not implicitly or explicitly disallowed either. One thing is for certain, the U.S. executive branch by virtue of Lincoln’s actions already has a history of violent suppression of secession.
But does the Constitution govern in this case. Does permission actually emanate from the Declaration of Independence? The founding document of the United States – just as the founding document for the Republic of Texas – is the Declaration of Independence. In continuing from the “Think On” quote above from the Declaration’s preamble, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Thus, the right for a state to secede from the Union is found in the Declaration, not the Constitution. The latter sets the form of government and basis for the law, but it is the Declaration of Independence that sets the legitimate rationale for states to secede.
Folks will argue the points of secession legality pro and con; each side firm in its resolve as to what is right and proper by law. But it seems that there is ever-greater critical mass forming in certain states that gravitates toward secession as a viable solution to escape the tyranny of the ever-more-intolerant progressive liberal bureaucracy and their “moderate” Republican enablers. Psalm 2:1 asks, “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” So, the progressives set themselves up to wallow in their own vanity toward possible destruction of the Union. Just sayin’.