White House responds to secession petitions with complete ignorance of the Constitution

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.

26 comments on “White House responds to secession petitions with complete ignorance of the Constitution

  1. Nyp says:

    So Lincoln and Daniel Webster were wrong and Calhoun and Davis were right?

  2. Cite anything in the Constitution that enumerates a power of the federal government to prevent secession, Petey.

  3. Nyp says:

    Here we go again – so his answer is “yes.”. The South was right, and Lincoln was wrong.

  4. Here we go again. We don’t need a my-theologian-is-is-better-than-your-theologian debate when we have the original texts.

  5. Steve says:

    You have seen Nyp in action, his M.O. is to change the topic, hijack the blog then call everyone radical and wrong when they have a difference of opinion on the new topic Nyp has created.

  6. Nyp says:

    The topic is secession. It is his topic. He believes that Nevada has the right to secede from the rest of the United States.

  7. Steve says:

    As does the Declaration.

  8. Nyp says:

    Ah, so you too side with Jefferson Davis over Abraham Lincoln.

  9. Nibot Mus says:

    The provision for supporting armed force by the federal government to enforce loyalty of the states to that government body makes sense for the “Battle Born” Nevada. The Nevada Constitution was crafted during the later part of the War Between the States, and the very popular political posture then was “preserving the Union.”
    The concepts and principles of the Declaration of Independence were made subjunctive during that era.
    But, in reality, the Constitution was a documentation of the will of the people to limit and restrain government and to preserve personal rights, predicated upon the assertion of God given rights endowed unto every man as declared in the “Declaration of Independence.”

  10. Steve says:

    It was the war of northern aggression to some of my family. To others in my family it was the civil war. I have two ancestors who held commissions and we have the original documents each bearing the signature of Abraham Lincoln.


  11. Milty says:

    To some, the War of Northern Aggression. To others, the Civil War. To yet others, the War Between the States.

    There’s a monument at West Point dedicated to the Regular Army soldiers who died in the war. It was paid for by contributions from Civil War veterans during the late 19th Century. That monument refers to the war as “The War of the Rebellion.” I guess they were a little bit biased.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Rebellion, revolution … depends on who wins.

  13. Milty says:

    Nyp’s a legal scholar, or at least he pretends to be one on this blog, so I was wondering if he could give his interpretation of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions and explain whether Jefferson and Madison were wrong to have written them?

    I guess my specific question about this issue would be: Two states recently decided to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. This goes against federal law. But the president has decided that “We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” so the federal government isn’t going to take action against these states. By declining to take action, is the president buying into the concept of nullification?

  14. Nyp says:

    No, he is not

  15. Milty says:

    “No, he is not”

    Jefferson and Madison were not wrong to have written the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions?

  16. Milty says:

    So what’s the difference between the Washington and Colorado marijuana bills and the proposed bill in Wyoming bill says that “any federal law which attempts to ban a semi-automatic firearm or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm or other limitation on firearms in this state shall be unenforceable in Wyoming”?

  17. Rincon says:

    I think it’s easy. We’ll let Nevada secede, then declare war on the newly formed country. After that, we could strip ’em of their resources : )

  18. Milty says:

    “We’ll let Nevada secede, then declare war on the newly formed country. After that, we could strip ‘em of their resources”

    Rincon’s statement implies that he doesn’t live in Nevada. If that’s the case, then why is he commenting on an issue that should be rightfully decided by the citizens of Nevada?

  19. Steve says:

    Since the federal government already owns 85% of Nevada, Rincon’s statement is moot from the start.
    I think Rincon hails from Illinois. Illinois had their own secession petition too. Too bad we can’t go back and look at the results anymore. But it would be nice to let Illinois secede, declare war on that new country and take all its resources because Illinois owns all its lands and Nevada could use some of that stuff.

  20. Vernon Clayson says:

    Over 90% of the land area is owned by the federal government. This is a silly discussion, federal owned land is larger than some nations, who is going to band a fighting force out of people that have to go to work tomorrow?

  21. Rincon says:

    Nobody saw my smiley face? My proposal is no more serious than the original proposal to secede. Your point about the land is well taken though. Have there been any detailed proposals to rectify that? Any idea how the land would be distributed?

  22. Steve says:

    Nevada has passed laws requiring the federal government to cede lands back to the state. The feds, unsurprisingly, are being less than forthcoming on these laws.

    Next time you want a smile try not placing a space in the emoticon you will get 🙂 instead.

    Remember to place a space on either side of the emoticon.

  23. Steve says:


    Check it out. A help file for smilies.

  24. The voters of Nevada approved taking the land in … 1996. Nobody, including Harry, has done anything about it.

  25. Rincon says:

    Thanks for the smiley help Steve, and thanks to all for the info on the land issue. T’aint fair. If Obama wants a more powerful Conservative movement, all he has to do is ignore this issue as his predecessors have.

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