Can Texas Legally Secede from the United States?

Will Texas secede from the Union? Photo Credit: The White House

Following the November 6 elections, thousands of residents have signed petitions requesting that their state leave the union following the re-election of Barack Obama.

Texas stands out by the sheer number of supporters who favor an independent country.

But is there a procedure for a state to legally declare its independence and separate from the U.S.?

The White House Website: We the People

Americans have always been able to petition their government. One of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment is the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Unfortunately, drafting a petition and going from door to door seeking signers was time-consuming. But not anymore.

To use a worn out cliché, with today’s technology, people can draft or sign a petition while wearing pajamas and sitting in their parents’ basement. The result is that we find numerous secession petitions on the We the People section of the official website of the White House.

According to its terms, the Obama administration agrees that if a petition garners 25,000 signatures within a period of 30 days, that petition will be sent to appropriate White House staff for an examination. The staff will then send the issue to policy experts who will prepare a response. The administration promises that all petitions that reach the required threshold will be responded to.

But petitions on We the People do not have the force of law, and the promise to follow the procedure set out is just that—a promise. No doubt petitions that receive more than 25,000 signatures within 30 days will receive a response, but the response could consist of “don’t be silly” or “no way.”

Of all the petitions on We the People calling for state secession, Texas has the most votes. At the time of writing, more than 106,000 Americans have signed this particular petition since it was first posted on November 9.

The United States Constitution on Secession

The constitution is completely silent on the issue of a state leaving the union. As many legal documents do, the omission leaves both sides of the argument to say the constitution supports their point of view. Those who favor the secession of a state say that states can decide to separate because the U.S. Constitution does not expressly forbid it. Those opposed to breaking up the country argue that since the constitution does not expressly provide for a state to leave the union, a state has no legal right to secede from the United States.

Despite how horrific Obama’s re-election is to those people who are demanding their state secede from the U.S., this is not the first time states have tried to secede. Texas attempted to leave the union just prior to the Civil War. And as keen observers will note, Texas is still one of the United States of America.

Click to Read Page Two: Supreme Court Ruling on Texas Secession 

© Copyright 2012 Arthur Weinreb, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science

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  • Brandon

    Someone needs to think. What about all of the controlled imports/exports that we use? A noticiable percentage of them are controlled by the union and shipped to us as the states attempting to secede, without them we would have to spend millions to become inter-dependent between the multiple states attempting to secede. We would have a new burden of draining even more money paying the certain overseas shipment cos. to deliver to different locations of the ?United? states of America. That would be one of the many problems that would have to be conquered. Really People????

  • @Brandon

    Just because they want to Secede, doesnt mean they will move…. they will still be “Apart” of the US… there will be no difference in shipping to these “countries” as there has been in the past. truck drivers go to and through these states daily… why would it change?

  • Jhon

    well at least we can get the shirt

  • Todd

    well Brandon.. you are forgetting that Houston, Texas is home to the SOLE power distribution and gathering industry for the US… they would be relying on us (Texas) also, we would no longer have to deal with all the debts that our sadly current president OBAMA has dumped on us.. we are technically the only state that can actually secede as stated in Article 1, Section 1.

  • shalyla

    get real this is stupid and a little crazy — The People voted Obama into office — if Texas becomes a stand alone state….I am moving my family the hell out of here — because in a few years it will feel like a cult. And if the Republicans were on top there game — they wouldn’t be crying now –

  • Ryan

    yeah we need to secede from the Union because we wont have to worry about obama and his tax raising ***. And he still wanting to raise taxes on payroll and *** man *** that i aint giving my money to people that dont want to work and can draw unemployment for 2 years man get real.

  • luke

    Think about this, if all 50 states have petitions to secede, did Obama really, legally win? I’m thinking (as many others are to) that the Obama Administrated flat out cheated. Think about it yourself.
    Now if Texas secedes successfully, then Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana will try to eventually follow. If they do then we’d be up to our knees in doo-doo, and lets hope China or Russia don’t attack. Yikes

  • Helen

    Really, aren’t an awful lot of people acting like small children throwing tantrums? This has become very embarassing. Please, Please grow up and let us get on with helping our country go forward. The tantrum throwers brought on all the mess we were in and trying to dig our way out for the last four years. This attitude reminds me of the fathers that get into a fight at their kids games. Sad, very Sad.

  • David

    The States are only United in so far asthey are beingguided by each other. The Civil War did not disprove secession was not viable it only proved that the President had the means and wear-withal t o dispell the DIS UNION. The states didn’t ask Puerto Rico to join they voted to join and they can do peacefully at any time. Likewise any state that feels they haven’t been taken care of by the UNION they are able to secede from that UNION peacefully. How did the COLONIES first petition England for freedom? Y’all need to reread the Declaration of Independence.
    “It bears repeating that the united States are “united” explicitly on the principle that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” and “whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends [i.e., protecting life, liberty, and property], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government” and “when a long train of abuses and usurpations…grievinces as a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Thomas Jefferson

  • Bonnie

    There is really a very small minority of people signing these petitions. It seems like a lot because the numbers are high, but when you look at how many people there actually are, it’s tiny. There are petitions in all of the states because there is at least one person willing to start one–not because there are many people interested in signing them. Some of the signers have signed in more than one state, and there is no way to check for duplicates or to guarantee that one person isn’t signing from a number of different email accounts. If it weren’t for the internet, we wouldn’t even know about it.

  • Anonymous

    People are simpletons in “said” matter for it is logical indeed for we have done it to get out of the british government and we are a superpower now although so young, Sadly we are aslo losing our position and china is moving in I say the best decision is to leave these united states and that all the states with petitions be allowed to peacefully crete a nation and leave obama and he other corrupt polititions and business men have there damned 4 or 5 states still standing for it is united just united we are leaving my friends I stress this that it is time for a change I implore that said change be mad to your opinion but I ask you also look at others opinions and dont be so idiotic with responses dont reply i you do not know both sides of the story and the legality of it well hehe it does not stop most people so I doubt it would stop these protesters.

  • Jamal

    Its a sad day in America when bush can run this country in the ground and everyone sits back and accept it but obama have 1 mediocre term but way better then bush 2 terms and we have people acting how they shouldve been act 8 years ago not to sound racist but white people thank you for showing the rest of the world what we already been thing a majority of you guys are nothing but self centered egotistical closet racist this is discusting

  • A

    When will you people let Bush go. Obama has had FOUR years to show us something. Well after FOUR years nothing. The only people that keep throwing the race card are the people that voted for him because of his race. I could care less if he were purple and had green hair, he’s screwing up this country and since we also have a democratic congress we are in even more trouble. Here’s the real problem. Obama could be great (or any other president for that matter) but until we start running this country based on what is right and not what the democrats want or the repoblicans want and how much am I going to get paid for voting your way, then we will fall. It may not be in four year or twenty years, but it’s going to happen. All great nations come crashing down and it’s because of greed and corruption.

  • Kathy

    Stupid people!!!!! Bush was the worst and of course Texas love his dumb butt. When he was voted in again I wanted to leave the USA but didn’t, at Least with Obama he is heading in the right direction.

  • luke

    Heading the right direction kathy?
    You should be a profesional comedian, really.

  • Joshua

    Todd all states have the ability to secede. In our state constitution (Colorado) Article 2, Section 2 it states the following: “That the people of this State have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign and independent state; and to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness, provided such change be not repugnant to the constitution of the United States.” If you check the Constitution of the United States and all of its Amendments you will never find it state anything about Secession, neither for nor against therefor it is assumed to be legal.

  • Ray

    And if you secede, you wouldn’t have to worry about that pesky 13th amendment to the US Constitution. Just think what you could do with all that free labor. Seriously though, before you make the same dumb mistake you guys made in 1861 due to sour grapes over Lincoln’s election, you should read up on the Supreme Court’s 1869 decision in Texas v White. The majority found that The Articles of Confederation formed a “perpetual union” which was superceded by the current US Constitution that has the stated intent “to form a more perfect union.”

  • JESUS

    “If my people who were called by name will humble themself and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then they’ll hear from heaven, and I’ll forgive their sins and I will heal there land.”
    1 Corinthians
    This is it people. You won’t find it any other way

  • Mark

    SHAYLA – BY ALL MEANS, LEAVE!

    Dr. E

  • Mark

    Obammy is the WORST president in the history of our country! Anyone that can think logically and objectively cannot deny this. Look at our debt, our consulate, we are now a laughing stock around the world! Thanks all of you dumbazz democraps for voting in obammy the jackass!

    Dr. E

  • Susan

    Wow. SMH I think Texas should be granted the right to succeed and become their own country. NASA would be shut down and operations moved to another US state. All military bases would close and military personnel immediately sent to other bases, except for those needed to protect the border between the new country of Texas and the US. All funding for roads, bridges, defense and education would cease. No more medicare, medicaid, social security, food stamps, welfare or farm subsidies would be paid to the state of Texas by the US Federal Government. Passports would have to be turned in to the US government. There would be no legal currency. No more FCC or FAA. No more Coast Guard to protect your borders from terrorists, drug smugglers, foreign invaders or illegal aliens. Oh, and don’t forget that bill you would receive for Texas’ portion of the current debt. All current federal employees, other than military, would now be unemployed and without benefits.

    Your current representatives in Washington. will be packing their bags to return to the Lone Stare country.

    Oh by the way, Texas is in the top 10 states getting *gifts* from the Federal Government. Texas leaving would be a big help in reducing the deficit.

    Lastly, oil production is predicted to slump by 2020. For advanced nations, demand for oil will be replaced by green sources. Oil will be a 3rd word energy option

    With that being said, it’s all a moot point anyway. Texas CAN NOT legally succeed from the USA, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

    “When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. 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.”

    Good luck y’all. And might I suggest that rather than sitting on your asses and signing a meaningless petition which shows nothing but utter disrespect for the President of the United States, not to mention our military who have fought and continue to fight and die to preserve the freedoms you enjoy, go out and make a difference.

  • cameron

    you obama freaks need to look back on our early presidents like jefferson and read his thoughts on goverment. this country was made to be free, not to have you be told what you need to do. the government has been like this for a long time , and its time our states stand up for themselfs and leave this corrupt government. just my thoughts from good ole virginia. texas were with ya!

  • Wanda Gray

    SHOW ME THE LAW that says a state, any state, does not have the right to secede. Show me the actual law not a quote from someone.

  • max

    lee serrendered i didnt!!!!

  • shawn

    I hope we do sucede from the US. Im sick if this govt. This country is on the brink of devistation and consuming itself up. The IRS is not supossed to be anymore and the crooked politicians r a joke using all us americans as pawns in their pocket. Im disgusted with the US and what weve become

  • shawn

    Susan ur dumb. U have no clue. Ur corupt thinking and mindless folowwing of this govt is whats wrong with the US today. U can fall along with the rest of the country. The south will rise and become the strength of a new country

  • shawn

    Oh and one more thing, all the us oil companies throughout us r in texas. Hmmmm good luck on ur own

  • shawn

    We live in a free country and if the US wont allow it then we are no different then Russia

  • Sarah

    I’d rather see Texas secede than to be under that tyrannical communist Obummer and live in a socialist nation which is exactly what we’re headed towards! And to you, shalyla …good riddance!

  • Sarah

    NASA is on Texas soil….possession is nine -tenths of the law…..

  • Sarah

    Yep…Obummer is back in office…the stupid SHEEPLE have spoken! BAAAAAAA!!

  • Joel

    As a true and proud Texan, I will provide my 2 cents on this topic. I am not advocating secession at this point, but I feel a few points need to be addressed. First of all, Texas has the 15th largest economy in the world. That means only 14 other countries exceed Texas economically. Yes, we can survive on our own. Secondly, for those of you saying good riddance, think about what you are saying. Texas has become a mecca for the country, and there are people here from all over the country for jobs and affordable living. Losing Texas would be a HUGE loss for the country, so don’t act like it wouldn’t make a difference. Third, this country was founded on secession. We seceeded from Great Britain, and people thought it was insane for the colonists to do, yet they did, and we know the rest. And lastly, for me anyways, this isn’t about whining or pouting. This is about being fed up with an overbearing, greedy, self serving, imposing federal government that is defying the constitution and destroying our way of life with irresponsible fiscal policies. This is the issue. at hand. We have lost our way, and it really is just a matter of time before it all collapses. It happened to the Romans, the Greeks, and every other major dominant power in history. Not sure why America thinks it will be the exception, it won’t be. Secession will one day be the only option once hyperinflation sets in, and a loaf of bread will cost more than you can carry in a wheel barrow. Again, I do not feel the state is ready, but it may not have a choice one day sooner than later. God Bless Texas.

  • Matt

    I enjoy the opionons of the nay sayers yes majority of them are Democrats who believe that socialism is a great way of life but i can almost gurantee that Shayla doesnt pay over 55k in taxes like I do. For the people of this country who think our great country will survive ignorance is bliss. Go back throughout history and study any great empire who shuns the working class. It all ends the exact same way evrey single time – defeat and total destruction. I honestly believe that if you are not employed you shouldnt be allowed to vote in elections of any kind because you do not participate in your “fair share” of revenue to the country. My other problem is that everyone is allowed an opionon but that doeant mean your right in it: So in closing God bless Texas and any other state that has enough gall to do the right thing and form what our fathers and our miltiary has fought for – Freedom from Tyranny.

  • Anthony Michetti

    @Matt – People who lose their jobs still contribute by spending money and paying taxes., they just don’t spend as much as someone who is employed.

    I wonder if you would still hold that view for Veterans who are unemployed?

  • Chris

    Texas is a REPUBLIC state. It CAN succeed. Texas does NOT need the US to grant permission for out freedom. We as Texans can simply declare deliver our own Declaration Of Independence to the US and fight for our freedom.
    Texas is the strength of the US…we have no debt other than that of the US. Our GNP is outstanding and once we are apart from the US- we can finally soar and strive.
    This time…Texans are ready and willing to fight the communist USSA.
    Time will tell….just wait and see.

  • Ray Marks

    All this is, just republicans not so happy with Obamas re-election. They can’t bare the idea of a tax increase, but they sure don’t mind sticking it to the poor employee that they only pay minimum wage to. And they sure didn’t mind the bail outs, and they sure didn’t mind all these years that corporations have gotten stupid tax breaks. Now they want to secede. Basically what they are saying is they want to seperate from the union and take their slaves, and treat them how they see fit. The whole reason Obama is doing what he is doing, is because you can only tax slaves so much before it becomes obvious that your doing something very wrong. The minimum wage earner is the BACKBONE of this country and we live in a time where our employment system supports it. Something had to snap, and they sure in the hell werent going to tax the poor guy, he already pays out the wazzu in taxes.

  • Austin

    Well from my point of view i think that OBAM aka “ONE BIG A&& MISTAKE AMERICA” is a ***

  • Robert

    Texas is a free and sovereign republic. Texas joined the United States as an established nation, not as a territory seeking statehood. Texas has every right to depart from this corrupt union and maybe leaving will send a clear message that crap leadership won’t be tolerated.

  • Joshua

    Any ruling stating this is in conflict w/ the tenth amendment. Basically, any power not specifically given to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the States, is automatically given to the States. Therefore, if it is not mentioned in the Constitution, guess what? It is a power of the States. Kind of simple, huh? Just because it scares people that a state would have this power should not stop them from violating something that so many of us have died to protect.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.n.simpson1 James Noble Simpson

    Russia is a democracy

  • Ralston Pruitt

    Texas is the only ONLY state to have it’s own self contained power grid.