Secession is like a bad penny. It keeps turning up every few years, promoted by the most angry fringe of the Texas Republican Party.
Well, here we go again. Fredericksburg Republican Rep. Kyle Biedermann has announced plans to file a bill in Austin calling for a referendum on Texas' statehood. Mostly, Texans just ignore this nonsense, as they should. But given the unrest we've seen recently, it may be time to point out what a colossally bad idea this is.
First, it's illegal. That much has been proven by Texas itself. In 1869, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case called Texas vs. White that the U.S. Constitution provides no legal means of exit for member states. States aren't members of the union until they change their mind. They are part of a bond the court called "indestructible" and the Pledge of Allegiance calls "indivisible."
In 2006, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reaffirmed that bond when he wrote, "If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede."
Biedermann has been promoting his silly idea and himself, of course, at every opportunity, appearing on Newsmax, Glenn Beck and a Fox affiliate in Austin. He has gathered almost 7,000 signatures on a petition. He uses Britain's recent departure from the European Union as an example.
But Texas is not Britain, and the U.S. is not the E.U., which joined together with pre-existing protocols for a member to exit. The U.S. Constitution contains no such offramps.
Even if we ignore the law and adopt this unpatriotic plan, there are other problems. Secession would be massively expensive. If it were to become a nation, Texas would have to establish its own military, its own citizenship and immigration laws, not to mention new taxes. Talk of secession is irresponsible at any time. But just weeks after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, the timing couldn't be worse.
If Biedermann doesn't want to be an American any more, that's his right. If he's more comfortable in a place like California where endless referendums have crippled progress, Southwest Airlines is booking flights. But none of those are good reasons for Texas to leave the United States.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS