Remember those petitions to secede from the United States posted on a White House website, including two from Nevada?
Well, the White House has gotten around to responding.
Jon Carson, director of the Office of Public Engagement at the White House, writes:
Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States “in order to form a more perfect union” through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot — a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.
To begin with, the Constitution does not “provide” rights. It establishes limits on the federal government’s power to abridge or infringe upon natural rights of individuals and the states, as noted in the Ninth and Tenth amendments of the Bill of Rights.
Carson goes on to quote Lincoln as saying the nation is perpetual and the Supreme Court as saying the union is indestructible, but never cites chapter and verse from the Constitution itself, because it is not there — in the folds or the penumbras or the footnotes.
No mention is made of the Declaration of Independence, which was cited in most of the petitions.
The Declaration says:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Now, I’m not saying it would be a good idea to do so, nor that it was a good idea at the time of the Civil War, but to deny the right to do so is counter to common sense, natural law and the principle that governments are instituted among men to serve their needs and not be their masters in perpetuity.
The Nevada Constitution states:
“(T)he Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers … The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its existance [existence], and whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority.”
But no Congress may bind a future Congress, though they often try. Likewise, no generation of Nevada voters may bind or enslave a future generation.