Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drat. Scalia Says "No."

Justice Scalia writes to a screenwriter who inquires about secession.

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. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, "one Nation, indivisible.") Secondly, I find it difficult to envision who the parties to this lawsuit might be. Is the State suing the United States for a declaratory judgment? But the United States cannot be sued without its consent, and it has not consented to this sort of suit.

Oh, well. Maybe this is resolved better with the old saw: "It is better to apologize than to ask permission."

Of course, you only have to apologize if you lose.


Anonymous said...

So, are you saying you would be in favor of states to be able to leave the Union? How patriotic!
Secession is illegal, period. See Texas versus White (1869).

Southern states seceded in 1861 in part they felt the federal government was interfering with their ability to conduct business how they saw fit. In other words, it was overstepping its constitutional bounds. I get that part.

But, the state's rights argument was predicated on an immoral cause. That is, what issue fundamentally led southern states to insist that the doctrine of state's rights was in jeopardy? They did not trust Lincoln when he declared he was uninterested in making slavery illegal in South, and that the federal government would NOT interfere with their "property".

So southern states left the Union because they believed and feared that federal power would eventually "overstep" its bounds by "taking away" their most prized institution--slavery.

Anyone who thinks that the South would have "willingly gave up" slavery over time is a fool.

Dad29 said...

Somewhere along the line, stop at a pharmacy and buy a Sense Of Humor Pill.