Texans hoping that the Lone Star State will eventually break away from the rest of the nation to form a new country will likely be disappointed when they consider what the Supreme Court once said about their options for secession.
A case after the Civil War made it clear that secession of the state from the United States is an unlikely and untenable scenario. In the 1868s Texas vs White In its ruling, the court said there were only two ways to leave the Union: “revolution” or “states’ consent.”
“Therefore, when Texas became one of the United States, it entered into an indissoluble relationship… The union between Texas and the other states was as complete, as enduring, and as indissoluble as was the union between the original states. There is no room for reconsideration or revocation except by revolution or by consent of the states,” the court’s decision said.
At its convention over the weekend, the Texas Republican Party voted on several measures for possible inclusion on the party’s official platform, including one that seeks a 2023 referendum on whether the Lone Star State should secede from the United States . The results of this vote are not yet known.
The measure calls on the Texas legislature to conduct a “referendum in the 2023 general election for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the state of Texas should restore its status as an independent nation” during the next legislative session.
But Richard Albert, professor of law and government and director of constitutional studies at the University of Texas at Austin, said so news week that talk of secession from Texas was “political posturing” and “not a real political proposal.”
Albert cited the Supreme Court’s 1868 ruling that Texas had no right to secession, noting that it was “not only, or even largely, an issue of law” but instead a “issue of power.”
He said Texas could declare independence today if it wanted to, but that “would mean war.” But “this is not a battle Texas can win,” he added, either through the war or in court.
Jeffrey Abramson, a professor of law and government at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Law, also cited the Texas vs White decision in the conversation news week.
He said that “there is absolutely no legal basis for Texas to secede from the Union,” adding that the “civil war solved the problem of states not being able to secede.”
Contacted by news weekJames Wesolek, a spokesman for the Texas Republican Party, said the move to seek a vote in 2023 on leaving the Union “is a platform plank that was voted on by delegates and we don’t yet know if it was adopted ‘ because ‘those results are still being counted.’