Skip to comments.Scalia vs. Thomas Jefferson on secession: Will nation 'submit to government without limits'?
Posted on 11/14/2012 4:02:07 PM PST by Perseverando
Contemporary opinions, including those of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, say the idea of a states right to secede died with the hundreds of thousands of bloodied victims of the Civil War, and that the sentiment behind the dozens of petitions on a White House website seeking permission for most of the 50 individual governments to leave the union will be fruitless.
But historians would note that even Thomas Jefferson, a pole star among political philosophers because he based his politics on the eternal, self-evidence, fundamental truths that all men are created free and equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inherent and unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, might be remembered for his opinion about states leaving the U.S.
It was in a letter to William B. Giles on Dec. 26, 1825, when Jefferson, who already had seen the fight over the states separation from England, the rise of a new nation and the tribulations it faced in its first decades, that he addressed the issue.
In a letter marked not intended for the public eye, he wrote that states should separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers.
He continued, Between these two evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesitation.
His letter, posted online at Constitution.org, sheds new light on the arguments being raised on the Obama administrations online petition site, where dozens of petitions are seeking permission for virtually all of the states to leave the union.
The Blaze reported on a 2006 letter purporting to be from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia that said, There is no right to secede.
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...
Sadly, Lincoln killed the secession right. It is now, however, time to resurrect it; to breathe new life into it.
I don’t want states to succeed. I want certain counties ejected from the USA.
The deep-blue ones on the coasts.
Jefferson died long before 1865, so of course he is irrelevant to legal pragmatists like Scalia.
There are too many frustrated Americans out there who want to divorce our government all together. I am one of them.
“to breathe new life into it”
In the very least the threat of it, or the possibility of the threat of it, would be helpful.
Let those states that wish to leave secede from the United States
You’d be better off quoting the inalienable part. As in: the right to self-government cannot have been sacrificed by the states and a certain portion of the public 220-plus years ago because it is inalienable. That is, nontransferable.
I think we need a form of economic secession with states themselves effectively going Galt.
Is it possible for a state to refuse to collect federal taxes for the feds? Lets say a Michigan company sells 100 tons of copper to a company that makes wire and copper sheeting while only collecting taxes for the state and local government.
I believe that the 10th Amendment needs to make a strong comeback, and that’s the way to go. States need to begin to force the issue.
The idea of secession is frightening. It is fun to think of sticking it to the federal government, but to do so while destroying a country that I dearly love is a high price to pay.
Scalia is usually right, but he is wrong on this one. The "right" to secede is determined by facts on the ground, just like the "right" of military conquest. If one or more states secedes, and the federal government chooses not to stop them, or attempts to stop them and fails, then the states had the legal right to secede. As for a moral right or natural right to secede, see the Declaration of Independence.
Given the sudden changes, we are no longer a constitutional republic with a limited government constrained by enumerated powers. Our natural right to freedom overrides any legal limits that Scalia may believe are imposed by precedent, even by the precedent of the (first) Civil War. If one or more states secede, my guess is that they will eventually re-merge with the United States, once constitutional government is restored. My guess is also that Obama is so far from being Lincoln that even if Obama tried to force unwilling citizens of (for example) Texas to remain in the USA, Obama would mess it up and deepen the rift, probably pushing more states onto the same side as Texas.
Justice Scalia knows the terrible price that may have to be paid.
His heart is in the right place. But on this issue, he is wrong.
God Bless the man, he really does see the writing on the wall, and wants ONE MORE CHANCE to try and change it, without blood. Because after all, there is only one currency recognized in the “price of freedom.”
And that currency is blood.
Every Founding Father believed in the right of secession. Lincoln’s War to Prevent Southern Independent, where three quarters of a million Americans died, settled nothing. What would King Obama do, send the US Army into Texas to slaughter more Americans and make them come back into his glorious union? The form of government the Founding Fathers wanted for this country has been systematically destroyed since Lee surrendered to Grant.
Does anyone with a brain think that any state would have voluntarily entered into a pac with the Federal government that said they did not have the right to leave that VOLUNTARY union if they saw fit? I don’t think so.
I think just the opposite argument makes more sense, that expulsion from the union, not secession, should be the direction of the future.
And to put it into contemporary thinking, let’s look at the situation of Puerto Rico. For years, the Democrats have been trying to rig a vote there that would guarantee their acceptance into the US as the 51st State, and in a rather underhanded manner, made so by just a Democrat controlled simple majority in congress.
As things are going right now, they have just had their vote *asking* to become a state, with *very* little media coverage. So the time is ripe for the Democrats, at a time of their choosing, to create a new state without any Republican input. A Democrat state increasing their power in congress.
So what the Republicans need to do is to approach this situation from the point of view of, “What do the individual states need to do to expel a state from the union?” That is, to put “not yet a state”, Puerto Rico back on an even keel to approach statehood in a normal manner.
Importantly, this would help to establish some ground rules by which, say, 3/4ths of the states could resolve to expel a state from the United States.
Right now, I think the best candidate for expulsion is California. And, oddly enough, California might actually be amenable to the idea. Here are some of the rationales:
California could become a separate country, a one party state, with unlimited immigration, its own laws and regulations, and Californians could enjoy the fruits of their unique view of life and things.
About the only major changes would be that California would no longer participate in the national life of the United States, nor have to abide its laws, and that borders would be erected between California and Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.
Sadly, yes, the majority of Americans are content with surrendering all vestiges of liberty to a government that promises to shower largesse upon them.
They`re interested in beer, pot, tattoos, abortions, contraceptives, obamaphones, EBT cards, taxpayer-paid college, living in Mom`s basement, Obamacare, atheism/agnosticism and homo “marriage.”
Those of us who value liberty and the traditions that made this country the greatest in the world have been relegated to minority status.
Bullets beat paper.
I do not need nor require the gov'ts permission to pursue life,liberty and happiness. If they hinder that pursuit it is my duty to fight back through any means necessary up to and including force.
I thought Scalia was an originalist; that is the belief that the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted according to the intent of those who composed and adopted it ... and the founders were silent on secession. The guns were not silent, and if that war were fought today, the north would lose.
the north would lose.
Provided the soldiers quartered here chose to fight for the states and not the feds.
Not sure it would be a north south battle...more like a Northeast/West coast vs the rest of us. But your main point is well taken.
It says We the People of the UNITED states. Should the states become disunited...as they almost were in 1810-ish and later in 1860,why should they not choose to leave.
However, if states were serious, they could start by telling the feds they were not taking the money and not following their “regulations”
I do not see anything close to that beginning to happen.
He is, except when he's not. He gave full-throated endorsement to the expansive Commerce Clause so fedgov could outlaw medical marijuana.
We can “seceed” from the federal gravy train by starting a movement in all of the red states and red counties or red towns. We can refuse to take federal money by cutting back on anything that the federal government gives us such as housing or anything else that Lyndon Baines Johnson thought up in his diabolical Great Society program. We have to roll back on anything that involves federal money and return to a slimmed down government.
No federal programs in our towns and states means that there will be far fewer federal employees who are the power source of the Democratic party machine. Democrat bureacrats give money to their bosses, must answer to their bosses if they should forget to vote and are required to hold signs and work to get out the vote. That is why they have such a huge organization which allows them to bring so many people to the polls. If there were far fewer government workers in our communites, there would be less of a Democrat Party presence in our communities. This is how we have to starve the beast of the Democrat party machine.
No, not since the States gave up their militias in favor of a standing federal army, along with other sovereign powers.
states have the power to secede from the union... it is up to the people to defend and protect that power through fighting... in 1865 the union won... but did not eliminate the power of a state to seceded.
the resolve to dissolve will be the factor. resist we much.
And that currency is blood of tyrants.
there. fixed it.