North Carolina has a history of chaffing under its federal yoke. Those of us in Texas definitely know what they’re concerned with, such as the disrespect Washington shows for our democratic/republican process; the way it inserts itself into our lives, even in the most mundane areas; and the way it tries to shape our values against our will. Well, NC might be making a move to solve their problems with the federal bureaucracy, and permanently. North Carolina is considering re-legalizing secession in their state.
Many are under the impression that Lincoln winning the Civil War, a conflict that NC found itself on the losing side, ended any question of secession. However, this is not any more accurate than it is in a hypothetical case of a local sheriff appropriating someone’s house under false pretenses. His residing there owes more to his title and the gun on his hip than to any legal or moral authority that he may have.
The supreme law of US is the Constitution, and it assigns only limited authority to the federal government, outlining certain enumerated powers that are its alone. To punctuate this limitation we have the tenth amendment, which states that 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.” Just in case there are any politicians reading this, I will simplify it. If the Constitution doesn’t explicitly give the federal government a power over the states, it doesn’t have it. Also, if the Constitution doesn’t explicitly forbid the states a power, then the states or the individual citizenry retain that power; this would include the power to leave the Union. Seems simple, right? Well it is, the logically/legally tortured Supreme Court decision, Texas v. White, notwithstanding. And even though politicians and judges have built careers on implementing or mitigating unconstitutional DC actions, that only means the law is being ignored, not that their actions are justified.
There is only one way for secession to be legally eliminated as an option for the people of any state, and that’s if they themselves give it up. This could come in a form of a ratified COTUS amendment or, as North Carolina has done, in a state constitutional restriction of that power. However, there seems to be enough discontent with the overreach of the federal government that the state is possibly rethinking the wisdom of such a decision.
According to an article from The News & Observer, Republicans (George Cleveland, Larry Pittman, and Michael Speciale) in NC’s House of Representatives proposed a bill to create a 2018 referendum that, if passed, would remove Article I sec. 4 of their state Constitution that says, “This State shall ever remain a member of the American Union; the people thereof are part of the American nation; there is no right on the part of this State to secede; and all attempts, from whatever source or upon whatever pretext, to dissolve this Union or to sever this Nation, shall be resisted with the whole power of the State.” This, combined with a few other planned tweaks to the CONC, would clear the only obstacle to NC leaving the Union and reclaiming her own independence.
A growing amount of states and citizens are now seriously considering full or partial independence measures. With such a trend, you’d think that the US government would be more motivated to make substantial reforms of federal power, but this is not the case. In fact, it is not altogether certain that such necessary changes to preserve freedom and avert the Union’s demise through fiscal mismanagement are even possible in its current sorry state. Even top-down invasive measures like Obamacare, far from being repealed already as was thought likely, the conversation has turned to how much of this unconstitutional law will the new Republican government retain.
As the US government seems locked-in to an authoritarian track, more and more states are realizing that their best option for preserving their freedom and economic solvency is independence. If North Carolina moves ahead with reviving the option of secession, for lack of true reform in DC, I guarantee that it won’t be the last.