Scalia vs. Thomas Jefferson on secession
Contemporary opinions, including those of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, say the idea of a state’s right to secede died with the hundreds of thousands of bloodied victims of the Civil War, and that the sentiment behind the dozens of petitions on a White House website seeking permission for most of the 50 individual governments to leave the union will be fruitless.
But historians would note that even Thomas Jefferson, a “pole star among political philosophers because he based his politics on the eternal, self-evidence, fundamental truths that all men are created free and equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inherent and unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” might be remembered for his opinion about states leaving the U.S.
It was in a letter to William B. Giles on Dec. 26, 1825, when Jefferson, who already had seen the fight over the states’ separation from England, the rise of a new nation and the tribulations it faced in its first decades, that he addressed the issue.
In a letter marked “not intended for the public eye,” he wrote that states “should separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers.”
He continued, “Between these two evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesitation.”
His letter, posted online at Constitution.org, sheds new light on the arguments being raised on the Obama administration’s online petition site, where dozens of petitions are seeking permission for virtually all of the states to leave the union.
The Blaze reported on a 2006 letter purporting to be from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia that said, “There is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”
Scalia wrote, in response to a question about a hypothetical secession movement, the U.S. can’t even be sued over the issue without first granting permission, which would not happen anyway.
The movement began with individuals from Louisiana and Texas posting petitions on the Obama site requesting permission to peacefully secede from the union. There is supposed to be a response from the Obama administration, according to site rules, if there are more than 25,000 signatures, a mark which both of those states have passed already.
However, Obama could simply ignore them completely, as the site itself is set up as a political tool for the Obama administration to hear concerns and states, if officials choose, they can either respond or not……………….