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Can California Really Secede?

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Calexit Is a Non-Starter
Calexit Is a Non-Starter

I know. I know. The idea of seceding may feel good to millions of Californians who find the idea of Trump presidency painful. But despite what it says on the “Yes California” website secession is not an option.  I don’t care how big our economy is, it can’t be done. No way Jose.  Ain’t happening. Here’s why.

There is no provision in the U.S. Constitution for states to secede. Right off the bat it says, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union.” Notice it’s the “people” who form the union, not the states. And it’s a “union” that is formed. Not a federation or a loose association of voluntary members. In fact the founding fathers ditched the weaker “Articles of Confederation” for the stronger U.S. Constitution.

Nevertheless secession was tested big time in the 1860’s when eleven states seceded, or tried to. What was that called? Oh right. The Civil War. Didn’t end well.  The secessionists lost. Issue settled? Not quite.

In 1868 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Texas’s secession was not valid. The court wrote that the union was “complete, perpetual, indissoluble and final.”  Perpetual. That means forever.

Now, the high court did leave a small opening. Chief Justice Salmon Chase wrote that a state could not secede “except through revolution or through consent of the states.”

As we saw the revolution approach is a bad idea. (Note: “Civil War” above.)

Ok then how about secession through “consent of the states.”  We could call a constitutional convention and persuade ¾’s of the states to pass a secession process and put it into the Constitution.  But it also takes 2/3’s of the states just to convene a convention. We can’t even agree on getting rid of daylight savings time.

Bottom line --  America is built to last. So I guess we’ll just have to stick it out through good-hair presidents and bad-hair presidents. In the meantime, maybe we should put our efforts toward solving some of the real and serious problems that divided us in the first place.

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