Can Texas Legally Secede From the United States?
With a growing number of people calling for Texas to secede online, this question came up: Can Texas legally secede from the United States? Here is what I found out.
According to the Texas Tribune, conservatives across the state are upset by mandates and other policies coming from the federal government, so naturally, they are calling for Texas to secede from the union.
State Representative Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredricksburg) has filed a bill to create a referendum election to get a joint legislative committee together "to develop a plan for achieving Texas independence."
The term I have heard for this version of seceding is "Texit" which is a version of the British wanting to leave the European Union called "Brexit."
But the European Union is different from the United States because it is a loose association of countries with an option for a country to exit.
The United States has in the Constitution procedures for a state to be admitted, but nothing in it for a state to leave.
There is a long-running belief that I have heard all my life that because Texas was a republic before it was a state it left a clause that it could secede at any time it wanted to, a clause California removed so it could become a state. None of those thoughts are true though.
Texas was its own nation from 1836 when it won independence from Mexico to 1845 when it became a state because Congress approved the "Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States."
The resolution stated that Texas could choose to divide into "new states of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas" which has caused confusion with most Texans that we could secede at any time which is not the case.
The Civil War saw Texas secede like all the other Confederate states that left the union, yet because of the Civil War when Texas was readmitted to the union in 1870, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that secession was not legal and that all the states of the Confederacy were still considered states, including Texas.
So the answer is "no."
Late Justice Antonin Scalia definitely put that to rest in 2006 when he responded to a letter from a screenwriter asking if there is any way secession was legal, to which he wrote: "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.’)”
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