Editorial by: Dave Taylor
Supreme Court Judge Scalia believes they do not due to the outcome of our civil war. In a letter he wrote in 2006 to a screen play writer that was working on a farce story of Maine seceding Scalia wrote:
“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…”.
I vehemently disagree with Judge Scalia on this issue and frankly find the reasoning for his conclusion without basis. These are my reasons for my conclusion states are granted the right to secede from the union.
The only thing the civil war resolved was the north won the war; period. Using Judge Scalia’s reasoning; what would be resolved, if the south had won the civil war? Slavery was abolished due to the north winning, so would slavery still be legal had the south won? Apparently so using Judge Scalia’s reasoning. His reasoning goes right along the lines of “to the winner go the spoils”.
I do not believe anyone should be enslaved and simply winning a war does not make something right, but if the south had won (using Judge Scalia’s reasoning) slavery may be alive and well this very day. And Lincoln had made seceding unlawful during the Civil War thus going around the Constitution. He also suspended habeas corpus which is against the Constitution.
Also; individual states freely created the union and it was not done by force. Creating a union of free will in return gives a party the right to freely leave the union. At the time the union was created; the people all had a common goal and with greater numbers common goals more easily attained. Would a union been freely created, if the individual states broadly disagreed on goals? I believe the no-brainer answer to that question is no.
There’s also the matter of our Constitutional rights that disagree with Judge Scalia. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. The Tenth Amendment confirms its federal characteristics. The term “federalism” is also used to describe a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (such as states or provinces). The Tenth Amendment (which is part of the Bill of Rights) states the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States or the people. The tenth amendment states “”The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nowhere in our Constitution is the right granted to the government to force states into staying in the union. Nowhere in the Constitution is the right for states to secede from the union labeled unlawful or unconstitutional. The tenth amendment was written to push back against unconstitutional federal laws and regulations on a state level. The principle is known as “nullification,” and was advised by many prominent founders.
Next we have the issue of the Declaration of Independence. Here is a portion of the preamble:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”.
I believe very strongly I’ve provided sufficient information that makes my opinion correct and Judge Scalia’s totally incorrect. Our founders fought off a corrupt, tyrannical government and threw them out. They did this to give us the freedom’s and right’s our great nation was founded upon. Many of these rights afforded to us by the hero’s of our Revolutionary War are under attack and we once again are facing a corrupt, tyrannical government. The only questions now left in my mind are “have we learned from our history and what is the best approach to exercise our constitutional rights?”