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Soon-to-be Fixed News employee Glenn Beck made Keith Olbermann's "Worst Persons In The World" tonight for suggesting that states ought to consider their "right" to secede.  Think Progress wraps up why:

Today on his radio show, conservative talker and future Fox News personality Glenn Beck suggested that states should “secede” from the union to protest the recent string of Wall Street bailouts:

BECK: So the question is, do states have the right to secede anymore? Because it was a compact. It’s not perpetual. In fact, in the Declaration of Independence it says it is our right, it is our responsibility to get away from a government who doesn’t listen to us any more.

Do you even have a right to do that as a state anymore?

Anymore?  I'm afraid you never did.

My wife and I were talking about this after we saw "Worst Persons", and so I decided to set the matter straight in as simple a way as possible: by looking it up in the Constitution (because, as we all know – except Glenn Beck – THAT is the actual authority, not the Declaration of Independence).

Let's see, Article I, Section 10 ought to do it:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws; and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

So, in other words, good luck being an independent entity if you can't do the stuff independent entities tend to find essential.  Never mind that a party to a contract cannot just up and unilaterally void it.

Not good enough for you?  How about the Supreme Court case of Texas v. White (1869)?  Here's part of the writeup on Wikipedia, though you can look at the actual case if you want to:

Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869) was a significant case argued before the United States Supreme Court in 1869. The Court held in a 5–3 decision that Texas had remained a state of the United States ever since it first joined the Union, despite its joining the Confederate States of America and its being under military rule at the time of the decision in the case. It further held that the Constitution did not permit states to secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were "absolutely null".

How's this for a definitive statement from that case?:

It is needless to discuss, at length, the question whether the right of a State to withdraw from the Union for any cause, regarded by herself as sufficient, is consistent with the Constitution of the United States.

So, Mr. Beck, as usual, I'm afraid you're S.O.L. on this one.  "Love it or leave it", eh, Glenn?

May I pack your suitcase?

Originally posted to skralyx on Wed Nov 26, 2008 at 09:15 PM PST.

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