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Some thousands of Americans have created and signed petition to secede from America. They are a very small fraction of the population of their states. But still what are the legal consequences of signing such a petition I wonder.
It is instructive to look at the saga of the citizenship of Gen. Robert E Lee, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Army of Northern Virginia, the Confederate States of America. His citizenship was revoked. After the surrender in the Appomattox Court House, he wrote a formal letter renouncing his allegiance to the CSA, requesting his citizenship to be restored. But that letter was taken home as a personal memento of the Secretary of the State Seward and was given away a souvenir to his friend. It was found at around 1970s, and Lee's citizenship was restored posthumously.
Signing a petition to secede is not some loose talk in some bar or a rhetorical statement. The Whitehouse is taking these petitions seriously and has to provide formal response once a certain threshold is reached. Signing the petition should have all the legal consequences that ensue, if these petitions are to have any kind of meaning or significance.
I wish the formal response from the Whitehouse would be,
"All people who signed these secession petition have formally expressed their wish not to obey the Constitution of the United States of America.
The oath of office requires all officials to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The secessionists will be termed domestic enemies.
The secessionists are fully liable for all the consequences such an act would entail. They risk losing their passports, their fitness to hold public office, and they can be charged with treason.
They should report to their local justice of peace and take the pledge of allegiance under oath to avoid unpleasant consequences."