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US States Petition For Secession

Outline
Posts are currently being shared that include links to petitions and indicate a signature on those petitions will support certain states’ efforts to secede from the United States.



Brief Analysis
Links in the posts direct the reader to petitions on the “We The People” website, which was set up to allow the general public to have a voice in the US government beyond that provided via traditional means (elected representatives in Congress and the House of Representatives).  The petitions are not legally binding, and secession is a far more complicated concept than simply getting a set number of signatures on a petition.  In fact, the basic premise of the petitions, which quotes the US Declaration of Independence, is flawed in its inception as there is no Constitutional right to secede. 

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Last updated: November 13, 2012
First published: November 13, 2012
Article researched and written by David M. White
About Hoax-Slayer


Example
Secession Petitions



Detailed Analysis
The 2012 US Presidential election was contentious and fractious from start to finish, and now that it is over that divisiveness is apparently being continued, with some groups going to the extreme of calling for the secession of individual states.  As of the writing of this article, a total of 20 petitions have been submitted claiming to represent the following states  - Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas

An example of one petition can be seen here - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/peacefully-grant-state-alabama-withdraw-united-states-america-and-create-its-own-new-government/2TvhJSSC

These petitions are not necessarily being submitted by elected representatives of those states, but by individuals or groups within those states. 

This is being pursued, ironically enough, through an outlet that was set up by the Obama administration in 2011 – the We The People website.  Petitions submitted via that page are directed to the current administration's policy experts. Petitions that gain a minimum of 25,000 signatures in a 30 day period will be reviewed by officials in the Administration and an official response issued.

Already it should be evident that these petitions are rather pointless.  Those petitions aren’t any form of legally binding document and aren’t even directed to any elected officials. 

However, it does raise the question of the legitimacy and process by which a state might secede from the US.  The simplest answer is that, barring an outright revolution – and a successful one - they can’t.  And even during rebellion, a state is considered part of the union.  That legal question was decided all the way back in 1869 in the case Texas v. White:  The Court held that individual states could not unilaterally secede from the Union and that the acts of the insurgent Texas legislature--even if ratified by a majority of Texans--were "absolutely null."  http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0074_0700_ZO.html


A more modern take on the question was supplied by Supreme Court of the United States Associate Justice Antonin Scalia – the anchor of the conservative wing of SCOTUS who was appointed by Reagan in 1986 and is currently the longest serving justice on that court.  In replying to a screenwriter who was writing a comedy about Maine seceding and joining Canada, he wrote, “…I cannot imagine that such a question could ever reach the Supreme Court. To begin with, the answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, “one Nation, indivisible.”) Secondly, I find it difficult to envision who the parties to this lawsuit might be. Is the State suing the United States for a declaratory judgment? But the United States cannot be sued without its consent, and it has not consented to this sort of suit.”

In short, these are just the result of likeminded individuals venting their frustration with the current state of affairs. 


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References
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57548572/states-petition-to-secede-from-union/
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/peacefully-grant-state-alabama-withdraw-united-states-america-and-create-its-own-new-government/2TvhJSSC
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/
http://www.oyez.org/cases/1851-1900/1868/1868_0
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0074_0700_ZO.html
http://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2010/02/scalia-there-is-no-right-to-secede.html

Last updated: November 13, 2012
First published: November 13, 2012
Article researched and written by David M. White
About Hoax-Slayer