No Right To Secede

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has publicly stated that according to his reading of the Constitution a state does not have the right to secede.

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”).

Read the story and Scalia’s letter here.

7 thoughts on “No Right To Secede

  1. acwresearcher

    I would forward this to Texas Governor Rick Perry, but I'm afraid he might not quite understand the language of Justice Scalia's letter or the simplicity of this post. Any public official foolish enough to make a statement in support of secession (like he did last spring at an early tea party rally) probably won't ever get it. Thankfully, the March primary is just around the corner and the general is in November!

    1. Kevin Levin

      What I've never understood is why we tend to view these secessionist folks as patriots. Supposedly these are the people that are defending our freedoms. That has always seemed to me to be just a bit absurd.

      1. margaretdblough

        In part because, through the Lost Cause movement, the Civil War is one of those rare wars where the vanquished did a pretty fair job of taking over the history. In addition, once reconciliation of whites North and South became the goal, there was a lot of support for glossing over the details. What I can't respect is the secessionists' refusal to accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

    2. margaretdblough

      Not to mention the fact that it didn't exactly work out that well for Texas the first time they tried it. I wonder how many of those at the rally who probably revere Sam Houston realize that he was bitterly opposed to secession. Ironically, the US Supreme Court decision that ruled that there was no constitutional right to secede is STATE OF TEXAS v. WHITE, 74 U.S. 700 (1868) (the case involved what impact if any actions by the rebel government of Texas had on the rights regarding US bonds held by Texas when the Civil War began) . The opinion of the Court, delivered by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, is very compelling and can be found at

  2. Bill Baetz

    Kevin, thanks for posting the story about Justice Scalia's response to the inquiry of secession. It's a great story.


Now that you've read the post, share your thoughts.