When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union earlier this month, many observers in America likened it to a state seceding from the U.S. Invariably, the candidate mentioned was Texas, America's most ornery state. What's behind the oddly enduring Texas secessionist idea, and is it possible that the state could really break from the U.S.?
Well, Texas actually was an independent and sovereign country at one point, as Jules Suzdaltsev explains in today's Seeker Daily dispatch. For about 10 years in the mid-1800s, the Republic of Texas made a go of it after giving up its status as a Mexican province and declaring itself a new country.
It didn't go so well. The Republic of Texas racked up a massive national debt and was unable to effectively police or defend itself. The U.S. annexed Texas as the 28th state in 1845, although a small but vocal independence movement has smoldered ever since.
RELATED: How Powerful Is Texas?
According to the Texas Nationalist Movement website -- the hootinest, tootinest website west of the Pecos -- more than a quarter million Texans have pledged their vote for Texas independence. The goal of the organization is to win a binding referendum on Texas independence, which would require a majority vote, much like the Brexit situation.
Well, that's a "binding referendum" according to the Texas Nationalist Movement. The federal government has other ideas. The U.S. Constitution doesn't explicitly allow or prohibit state secession, but an 1869 Supreme Court decision more or less settled the issue. In Texas v. White, separatist proponents argued that the state had effectively seceded during the Civil War and Texas had become an independent nation. The Supreme Court disagreed, ruling that just because a state says it has seceded, doesn't make it so.
As such, as far as the federal government is concerned, no state can break from the union simply by way of declarations, resolutions, referendums, conferences, legal maneuvering or sustained orneriness. And in any case, the Texas Independence Movement just doesn't have the votes. According to poll numbers, the overwhelming majority of Texans have no interest in leaving the U.S.
-- Glenn McDonald
Washington Post: Texas Republicans have opted not to secede from the United States, after all
The American Conservative: Is Secession Legal?
Rasmussen Reports: In Texas, 31% Say State Has Right to Secede From U.S., But 75% Opt To Stay
Cornell University Law School: Texas v. White