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Federalist questions

 

sree srr sre erik espina special report erk

Part 15

ADDITIONAL tutorial on the American experience on federalism, regarding the weighty issue of – whether state secession was constitutional? Particularly, the preservation of state rights voluntary entrance in establishing a union, and withdrawal thereafter?

Note, four years after the defining 1865 Civil War, in Texas v. White, the US Supreme Court held, the US is “an indestructible union…Texas and the confederacy never left the Union during the Civil War, because a state cannot unilaterally secede from the United States…That no state can leave the union. Secession would require a US constitutional amendment approved by 2/3 majority in the House of Representatives and Senate, then ratified by 38 State Legislatures…Secession was considered treason, and that all who uphold it by menace or by force, or by giving aid in any degree, or in any manner, are traitors, and legally subject to capital punishment”. This was landmark jurisprudence to disqualify confederate footing on the US Constitution recognizing states, the right to withdraw from the original compact – of union states – and establishing a separate federated country.

Certain state rights continue to be gleaned and exercised today e.g. governors empowered to impose martial law in respective states. Establishment of State national guards (home-grown and funded militia) distinct from US armed forces. An Electoral College, a superior institution of 538 representing various states electing presidents of the US regardless the results of the popular vote. Scholars term this, a vestige of “residual suspicion”, on increasing federal government control vis-à-vis state rights.

Thinking and movements on secession do currently subsists in recent days. The “Calexit”, founded in 2015, continues to this day, a campaign for the State of California seceding from the US. New York State is dotted with intra-state movements e.g. Staten Island, Long Island etc. Next week, this column will tackle Philippine federalism.

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