Texas Secession Battle, Not Over Yet

On December 4, a committee of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC), the governing body of the Republican Party of Texas, voted to have its full committee consider a non-binding resolution for Texas to secede from the Union.

By a voice vote on December 5, the full SREC rejected a measure that would have allowed voters to state on the March 1 primary ballot whether or not they agreed that Texas should declare its independence from the Union.

The ballot language read:

If the Federal Government continues to disregard the Constitution and the sovereignty of the State of Texas, the State of Texas should reassert its prior status as an independent nation.”

SREC member Tanya Robertson, from Taylor Lake Village of District 11, introduced the proposal. She told the Texas Tribune that “the measure would have been ‘harmless,’ allowing voters to register an ‘opinion only’.”

The week before the vote, the Houston Chronicle interviewed 13 SREC members. Six supported the resolution, six opposed, and one declined to comment.

Interestingly, the Texas GOP’s website makes no mention of the vote. It gives a detailed recap of the SREC’s meetings on December 4 and 5, which excludes the topic of Texas secession from the Union.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1861 that secession is illegal. Granted, the nature of rebellion itself is illegal. Which is why, pro-secession Texans point to the Declaration of Independence as their justification to give the option to voters to secede:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

in 2006, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia addressed the issue. The Wall Street Journal reported that he wrote to a citizen, “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.’).”

Yet, Texans still proudly declare “Remember the Alamo” and the “Come and Take It” Canon, which initiated their independence from Mexico on March 1, 1836. Sam Houston was elected president of the new republic and general of Texas’ army, who helped defeat Mexico’s Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Texas joined the Union on Dec. 29, 1845.

However, in light of the federal government’s repeated disrespect of state rights and the 10th Amendment, including the ongoing importing of non-Syrian refugees to Houston this week, despite Texas’s statement that it would not take them, it’s likely the issue of secession is far from over.

December 11, 2015