Do States Have The Right To Secede?

Texas Would Secede

The reelection of President Obama has caused many to question if the next four years will get any better.  The President’s reelection margins were much smaller than his victory in 2008.  This dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs has caused a growing number of citizens to petition the federal government and ask to secede. Is it even possible to secede?  Most of these petitions are being filed here (; an official petition page on the White House’s Official site. Within a 30-day period every petition will garner a response if it reaches 25,000 signatures.  A week after the President’s reelection there are approximately 69 petitions with over 675,000 petitioners.

This is the first time talk of secession is entering the political world since the Civil Rights movement.  So can states do this?  Sure, it’s certainly possible. This has happened before; the result was the Civil War.  However, is it legal to secede?  This is a much more complicated question.  There are judges on both sides of the issue.  Former NJ Superior Court Justice Anthony Napolatano says yes, current Supreme Court Justice Anotin Scalia says no.

The answer to the question has to do with your fundamental view on government and the United States’ early history.  Extreme conservatives will ultimately acknowledge that States have the right to secede. The 9th and 10th Amendments to the US Constitution give great powers and creates a legal framework that acknowledges the lack of the federal government’s supremacy in certain situations.  The founding of our country was a secession from the United Kingdom.  Non-conservatives acknowledge this but view the federal government supremacy as absolute.  One thing is clear, the United States is divided and this disagreement will continue.