SAN ANTONIO – It’s a common adage in Texas that we are the only state that can secede from the U.S. — but is it true?
In short — no. Shocker right? Every Texan born and raised in our great state has heard the old saying about Texas being the only state that can secede.
However, a so-called Texit, or Texas exit from the union, is a common myth mired in legal issues that would make secession controversial, if not outright illegal.
Eric McDaniel, associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Texas Tribune in 2016 that “the legality of seceding is problematic. The Civil War played a very big role in establishing the power of the federal government and cementing that the federal government has the final say in these issues.”
A Supreme Court Case from 1868, Texas vs. White, also backs this up as the justices maintained that when Texas “became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation.”
The court’s decision meant that no individual states are now allowed to secede from the union.
“The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States,” according to the decision handed down by the justices.
Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia responded to a screenwriter who posed the same question in 2006 — can a state secede?
“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’),” Scalia said.
The Constitution doesn’t make any provisions for secession.
Despite the legal issues, Texas Republicans have tried to get the legislature to allow Texans to vote on whether the state should secede from the United States.
In early 2021, State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, filed a bill that would give Texans the option to secede and “develop a plan for achieving Texas independence.” The bill did not pass.
In June, a Platform & Resolutions Committee report from the GOP Convention stated, in part, “Pursuant to Article 1, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, the federal government has impaired our right of local self-government. Therefore, federally mandated legislation that infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified. Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto.”
So, without consent from the U.S. or by means of revolution, Texas can’t secede from the union.
Want to really have your mind blown? Picking bluebonnets is not illegal.