Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scalia: "There Is No Right to Secede"

On Facebook, I was involved in a thread where the idea of the United States as a voluntary union was brought up (the main argument was that the Civil War was "about slavery." I argued that the war was actually about whether states had the right to leave the union, slavery being only the impetus for the action). The owner of the thread quoted Texas v. White as supporting the idea that the union was never voluntary and that no one had thought it was.

But this argument was a bit self-serving. To start with, the case was determined in 1869, four years after the Civil War actually determined whether or not states could leave the U.S. But also, the case concerned a state's ability to recover bonds that had been sold by the Confederate government. The court went through a convoluted process to allow the state to recover the bond money.

Well, Justice Antonin Scalia has weighed in on the issue.

I am afraid I cannot be of much help with your problem, principally because I cannot imagine that such a question could ever reach the Supreme Court. To begin with, the answer is clear. If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede.

Read the post for background, but this should change Ricky Perry's mind.