Thursday, November 15, 2012

Republic of Texas? Not So Fast.

A CNN article (full of vitriolic comments in both directions) informs us that the online petition platform includes a petition regarding the secession of Texas from the United States. Presumably, its authors desire signatures.  The question is, what they expect the President to do with it.

The admission of Texas to the Union wasn't immediate;  one treaty signed between Texas and the United States and submitted to the Senate on April 22, 1844, was rejected by the Senate on June 8 the same year.  When congress passed resolutions providing for the annexation of Texas, Texas agreed as expressed in its Ordinance of July 4, 1845.  The Ordinance agrees that in addition to Texas, four additional states may be made from its territory (presumably, to give its citizens more representation in the Senate).  By the end of 1845, Texas had the right to send two Representatives to Congress notwithstanding its not having participated in the prior census.

The Constitution of the United States provides in Art. IV §3 that new States may be admitted by Congress.  The petition purporting to request the President "permit" Texas to withdraw from the Union would appear a nullity, as the President hasn't any power to grant or revoke the status of a State because that power was never conferred on the President (and neither has a state: see Texas v. White).

The petition has, however, enough signatures that by the terms of the Petition portal the President should give it a response.  Perhaps the President will gently explain that while he has no power to grant the petition, he loves Texas (not to mention the 3.53 million Texans who cast votes for him earlier this month despite the state's drift to the right) and believes it and the Union are stronger together.  The President is, after all, a politician.  He should say things like that.  Besides, it might help take a little of the sting out of the President's decision to give retired Space Shuttles to California, the District of Columbia, New York (which isn't that far from the national flight museum in D.C.), and Florida while jilting the Johnson Space Center where Mission Control worked.  The JSC in south Texas is, after all, why the first word spoken from the surface of the Moon back to the planet Earth was "Houston".

But, no.  Not even a trainer.

Texans can take heart, though:  at least the I.R.S. still reads their mail. And if they aren't satisfied with that, they can always write a Congressman.  Not theirs, necessarily;  any of them could potentially introduce an appropriate bill . . . .

UPDATE: Second petition supports keeping Austin US if Texas secedes.  Does anyone care about the law on either?

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