Saturday, April 18, 2009

A more perfect Union

A more perfect union2 After my entry yesterday about Texas governor Rick Perry and a minority of Texans talking about the possibility of secession, I wanted to address a few remarks and do a little more research into the legality of secession.

First of all, I never thought that it was a serious threat; the majority of Texans (I saw numbers of 2/3 to 3/4) want to stay in the Union, and I think it was nothing more than political posturing. However, I still think it's crazy talk (to use a technical term), and a governor should not be encouraging such irresponsible ideas. As the Talking Heads sang, "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around." Talks of revolution and secession are serious business, and I believe it's dangerous. Gov. Perry has not endorsed secession or said that he favors it, but his coy remarks about "who knows what could happen?" are counterproductive. Just my opinion, of course.

There is some talk that it was written into Texas's constitution that they have the right to secede from the United States. Everything I found showed that although there is a proviso that they can separate into five separate states, there is nothing about secession, and most legal scholars believe it is not a legal option. I'm far from a legal scholar myself, but these are a few things I found while looking for information.

From Sam Schechner at

Even before Sen. John Kerry conceded defeat in the presidential election, some bitter blue-staters had begun joking about the possibility of seceding from red-state America. Which makes you wonder: Are there any provisions in U.S. law for a state to opt out of the Union?

No. But the legal situation wasn't always so clear cut. Before the Civil War, the legality of secession was an open question, and Southerners would frequently threaten that their states might ditch the fledgling nation. The legal argument, framed eloquently in the 1830 Senate debate between Daniel Webster and Robert Hayne, centered on the Constitution: Was it merely a treaty among the many states? Or was it the founding document of a singular country, a compact of the "people" cited in its opening clause? This legal argument, among other things, eventually begat the Civil War, and since it ended, scholars have agreed that the Constitution grants no right of secession.

Legal experts say that the "treaty" interpretation remains dead today, especially since, in the aftermath of the Civil War, the United States adopted the 14th Amendment, which included a definition of national citizenship, something conspicuously absent from the original. (Previously, citizenship had been defined exclusively by the states.) Today, the Supreme Court frowns on states conducting their own foreign policy and even ardent members of states’ rights groups agree that the states have no right to withdraw from the Union.

From W. Gardner Selby at

While a poll broke this morning suggesting Texans favor staying in the United States by more than 3-to-1, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said secession can’t legally happen. A multi-media firestorm broke this week over Gov. Rick Perry insisting Texas could secede if residents wanted to do so, though he also said he doesn’t favor breaking away.

Cornyn, the state’s former attorney general and a past member of the Texas Supreme Court, said in response to a question during a stop at the Texas Capitol that secession isn’t legally possible. "I understand the sort of frustration people feel about what’s happening in Washington. I share that frustration," the second-term senator said. But as to secession being legally possible, he said, "the answer is no. Texas cannot, as a constitutional law matter, secede."

From another article from, by W. Gardner Selby and Jason Embry:

Sanford Levinson, a professor at the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin, said that between the Texas Constitution, the U.S. Constitution and the 1845 Joint Resolution Annexing Texas to the United States, there is no explicit right for the state to return to its days as a republic.

"We actually fought a war over this issue, and there is no possibility whatsoever that the United States or any court would recognize a 'right' to secede," Levinson said in an e-mail. Levinson noted that the 1845 resolution allows for Texas to break itself into five states but doesn't specify whether that would require congressional approval — and forming new states still wouldn't constitute secession.

A more perfect union Finally, and most importantly, there was a case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1869 concerning bond issues. In Texas v. White, The Court found that Texas had remained a state of the United States since it first joined the Union, despite its secession from the United States and joining the Confederate States of America, and its being under military rule at the time of the decision in the Supreme Court case. It went on to state that the Constitution did not permit states to secede from the United States, and that the "ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were 'absolutely null'." It also states "The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States." You can read the full summation of the case by Chief Justice Salman Chase here. Some interesting stuff, especially the part about the "perpetual Union."

I also got a couple more Anonymous comments. One was merely a dissenting opinion, stating that Gov. Perry is right and that secession is an option. "Many conservative and libertarian Americans agree that the right of peaceful, democratic secession by state convention is a legitimate constitutional right of every state in the union." What I found showed that it's not a legitimate constitutional right, but at least this Anon wasn't nasty about their dissenting opinion. I'm cool with that. I still wonder, though, why they wouldn't put their name to their comment? It wasn't mean or nasty, just different from my opinion.

Not really a bitch Unfortunately, I had another visit from a previous Anon, the one who called me "poor little boo boo." (That's really kind of cute, isn't it? I've been called worse, that's for sure.) They started out as "Anonymous," answered their own comment as "Cynthia," and they are now posting as "Jolene." Oh my God, it really is "The Three Faces of Eve!" I wonder if Anon/Cynthia/Jolene is really a boy, using my blog as a place where he can let out his inner girly-girl and/or inner bitch? Well, I'm all about tolerance of other lifestyles, so you just go ahead, gurl! Although you'll probably find that people are a little more accepting when you don't question their intelligence or essentially call them an idiot. I'm just sayin'. And keep trying, dear--maybe one day you can achieve Sybil status!


  1. I personally think the whole thing is silly, and I also read that the 1869 renders null and void the option for Texas to legally secede. That being said, Texas has as much right as any state to "illegally secede", but that would be SO MUCH STUPIDER for Texas than it would be for many other states. Today, the Texas and US governments together are seriously battling the lawlessness of our neighbor, Mexico, and I really don't think Texas would have the resources to manage that border alone, not to mention defend it's northern border to Oklahoma. The whole thing is stupid, and I think it's totally irresponsible for the Governor of US state to even metion that word, even in jest. If I ever had any respect for him, this would have caused me to lose it. However, 0 from 0 leaves 0, so not much is changed!

  2. You have got to be kidding me....

  3. Let me do a very rough estimate ... there are 30 million Texans in Texas ... one third of that is 10 million ... a quarter is around 8 million or so.

    Where I am from, that is a lot.

    Now, with that many people, many in their right mind thinking that secession is a good idea, you have to figure that a GREAT NUMBER of them are not in their right mind, thinking that somehow seccession is the thing that would speak to their 'swollen itching brain'.

    Where am I going with this? I am sure there is some think tank, or secret agency that gives lip service to intelligence within the country, like the FBI. I think of myself as 'rational', but there are some 'left field' thoughts that cross my screen. What would it be like for a group of like minded nut cases, who really believe in their cause, who got together and ... oh wait, it happened already, in Oklahoma City.

    THAT is what is scary about their being anywhere from 7.5 to 10 million American citizens thinking that they need to break away from their country. Get to factoring in those whose experience and pursuits involve the quasi-military, and man ...

    ... you get why a Brother stays nervous, no matter what color the president is!! There is always someone out there, and I know for a fact, their can be at least 10 million cats capable of UT tower shootin', James Byrd brother draggin' folks thinking that they should simply leave the Union.

    Idiot like the govenor certainly fans the flames of fear ... in a place where the the kindling is already dry, that ain't good. This is SO not the thing to take likely.

    The national implications, with the right wing rebles already rushing to the guns shops to get the ammunition before the cats serving the country in the military can get what they need. This is a temperature gauge at the nationalist parties all across the country. Won't be surprised if the group that Gov. Palin's husband belongs too doesn't get up and running.

    Man, this is something that has crossed my mind a time or two ... guess this is the first time I got to let ANY of it out.

  4. Can't we all just get along :o)

    Anon, Anon, Anon, how silly you are...

  5. Boo, boo? It is really cute. After all Yogi Bear's sidekick went by that name. When you think of it he was even the brighter of the two. So in essence by calling you Boo-boo they're saying you're quite intelligent miss. (winks)...

  6. You Rock.
    I mean that, seriously.
    You get annons. Which I think is rather swanky.
    I also second Indigos comment....Boo Boo kicked ass

  7. This whole thing is just rediculous. What are those people thinking? Do they really want to lose the protections and security of being an American? Give me a break. BTW, I'm with Indigo on the Boo Boo thing...
    Hugs, Joyce

  8. Hi Beth,
    Hmmm ... with all this talk about secessation, I feel a Sybil War coming on!

  9. You know the old saying Beth, sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me so let them rant. I am back for now but AOL is still a mess. I have got to get that straight. Yuck

  10. I do believe more than anything else it's political posturing.

  11. It may or may not be legal but remember what happened in Rhodesia-they declared UDI. (Universal Declaration of Independance). Rhodesia has now become Zimbabwe, the rest is history! Lets hope that common sense prevails.
    Andy x

  12. Well my friend, I'm something of a legal scholar and I think that your legal analysis is right on target. Secession is a pipe dream smoked by malcontents who believe that they can build their own little nation right smack dab within the borders of the United States. I think that they've watched Escape from New York one time too many. BTW, now I can't get Dolly Parton's song, "Jolene."

  13. I think all this Tea Party talk and secession talk and too many taxes talk is the racist taking the easy way out instead of complaining about what really gets them: a Black man in the White house.
    If it looks like a racist and teabags like a racist and secedes like a racist, it's a racist.

  14. I'm impressed. Thirteen comments before someone resorted to the term 'racist' to slur anyone who opposes Obama's policies. People must finally be mellowing out. :)


  15. Hey! I'm all for letting Texas try and survive without any federal funds whatsoever. That place would be a nice addition to Mexico in terms of territory, jobs and a dandy port.

    Aside from that, I think, with the absence of a functional intellect, a large number of the Obama "protesters" have nothing but some latent racial angst or animosity. I mean, the tea-baggers were protesting tax cuts. CUTS?!? It's really about as sensible as people using the Bible to condemn homosexuality or calling French fries "Freedom Fries" for whatever the hell that reason was.

    Now, I'm not going to say that people don't have legitimate and valid criticisms of President Obama's policies. However, considering he's only been in office four fucking months and seems to have caused everything from Watergate to the current economic meltdown, I'm thinking most of the criticisms we see bandied about today are nothing more than the already ad nauseum and tedious chest-thumping and parroting of Rush and Fox "News" talking points. Conservatives, these days, rarely seem to think for themselves, and they've become a comical party of authoritarianism and hypocrisy. Indeed, they are caricatures of themselves, and the saddest thing is, they're the other party in this nation, and they're too damn stupid to grasp their failings or learn from their mistakes.

    Seriously. Texas seceding!?! I mean, somehow that's making sense in this idiotic governor's tattered and incompetent mind, and he's belching his insanity to the gurgling, hate-filled potatoheads of the Lone Star state who are too feeble minded to think for themselves (e.g. Chuck Norris).

    So, really, Dan? You can whimper and whine about people screaming "racist" when they call someone out on a bullshit criticism, but you've added no valid point yourself, you've not proven Bob wrong, and you've given no one anything to think about other than the fact that you want to just toss out another red herring about how misunderstood today's conservatives supposedly are.

  16. Thank you for doing the research and laying it out so plainly here.

  17. Dan - and how exactly would I prove Bob wrong? By surveying each and every person opposed to Obama's policies and asking "Are you a racist?" Would that be enough, or would you need more proof? Or should I go about calling people "gurgling, hate filled potatoheads" and pretending that passes for giving anyone 'something to think about'?


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?