Sorry, ya'll — 'Texit' isn't a legal option

Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.

Many throughout Great Britain are in Brexit vote hangover mode, suffering from buyer’s remorse and a feeling that they have just steered themselves off a cliff in the name of independence.

Of course, Texans soon took to the internet to declare it’s time for “Texit,” because the state’s history of independence means some think we could better go it alone. That is a stretch though, at least legally.

Texas was its own country for nine years, but Congress approved the Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States in 1845. That resolution declared that the Lone Star State could, if it chose to, divide itself into up to five states. That clause spurs confusion about our ability to secede. 

Texas seceded in 1861 to join the Confederacy, over the objection of cooler heads like Sam Houston. After the Confederacy lost the Civil War, Texas was readmitted into the Union five years later.

But The Texas Tribune reminded us last week that before Texas rejoined, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that secession was not legal. “In the 1869 case Texas v. White, the Court held that individual states could not unilaterally secede from the Union and that the acts of the insurgent Texas Legislature — even if ratified by a majority of Texans — were ‘absolutely null.’” (Sound familiar?)  

The late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia also wrote a response to a 2006 question asking if there was a legal basis for secession: “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, the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”

 

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