< }}” alt=”regina-cowan-bio.jpg” width=”200″ height=”200″ />Below is an op-ed piece from TNM’s Volunteer Director Regina Cowan. In it, she takes on the voices of the “armchair scholars” that say Texans do not enjoy the right of self-government or self-determination.
I’m somewhat flabbergasted when I see “political scholars” say that not only does Texas not have the “right to secede” but that no state in the Union does. I may be a simple peon in their eyes but I am most certain that I CAN read.
There is not a single founding document that our forefathers wrote and approved that says Texas cannot be a free and independent nation. If anything, it says just the opposite.
Seeing as how they were ACTUALLY living through and dealing with some of the very same things that Texans and others in the Union are being forced to endure, they knew that history has a way of repeating itself. They knew that the people had to be protected, they had to have a way out if it ever came to that again. That they had to ensure that their future grandchildren, however far down the line, did not have to go through what they were having to endure. I love every single one of them for that.
Let me give you a little refresher of what they came up with for the WHOLE UNION.
The United States of America Constitution & The Bill of Rights – It has never been amended to prohibit secession of a state-but does specifically state that powers not specifically authorized by the Constitution are reserved exclusively to the States, or to the People, and therefore not allowed the federal government. The federal government has no constitutional authority to prevent secession.
Pay close attention to the 10th Amendment.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Now there are those that would like to throw up Article IV sec III,
“New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”
That’s all great, too, but we are not becoming a “New State” but rather a “NATION” once again. So it still has absolutely nothing about LEAVING the UNION!
On a side note, the US has spent more than a century using “self-determination” as its justification for interfering in the affairs of other countries around the world. It has no moral standing to prevent the people of Texas or any other state from exercising self-determination.
Declaration of Independence – (my personal favorite)
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –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. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”
Not to mention our very own TEXAS founding documents.
Our Texas Constitution states:
“Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States.”
It goes on to say:
“All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”
Let’s not forget the Unanimous Declaration of Independence of Texas that states:
“When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.
When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.
When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.
When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.
Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.”
What I find even more ridiculous are the two primary arguments for those against us Texas leaving the union.
The first tends to go like this: “The Civil War settled the issue on the legality of secession.”
Seriously? It most certainly did NOT. The Civil War proved only that the industrial north had more manpower and more weapons than did the agrarian south. And the last time that I checked, the Constitution doesn’t contain a provision to amend it by force of arms.
The second argument, typical of armchair scholars, is to invoke the Supreme Court case of Texas vs. White.
The Supreme Court does not have the right to CHANGE or create law. To prove this point, let me quote a portion of their role in law.
“The Supreme Court has a special role to play in the United States system of government. The Constitution gives it the power to check, if necessary, the actions of the President and Congress. It can tell a President that his actions are not allowed by the Constitution. It can tell Congress that a law it passed violated the U.S. Constitution and is, therefore, no longer a law. It can also tell the government of a state that one of its laws breaks a rule in the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the final judge in all cases involving laws of Congress, and the highest law of all — the Constitution.”
Now, I’m pretty sure I’ve already established that there is absolutely nothing in ANY of our founding documents, US or Texas, that states that leaving the Union is illegal, treasonous or seditious.
We also know that the Supreme Courts can never be wrong, right? I mean, seriously. They’ve never been wrong before. Except in these cases.
1. Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857): In arguably the worst decision ever, the Supreme Court ruled that black people were not entitled to the same right of citizenship as white people.
2. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896): This ruling upheld separate but equal and established “apartheid” as the law of the land. The ruling would stand until overturned by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, and its descendant Jim Crow would remain the de facto law of the South until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
3. Pace v. Alabama (1883): In Alabama, interracial marriage was a crime punishable by two to seven years of hard labor in a state penitentiary.
4. Korematsu v. United States (1944): The ruling determined that Japanese internment during World War II was constitutional. Chief Justice Hugo Black wrote that the need to protect Americans from espionage outweighed the individual rights of Fred Korematsu and the civil rights of all Americans of Japanese descent.
5. The Civil Rights Cases (1883): Another testament to the Court’s failure to protect civil rights, the Civil Rights Cases struck down the Civil Rights Act of 1875. That law sought to ban racial discrimination in businesses and public accommodations. The court, in an 8-1 decision, held that the enforcement provisions of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments do not allow Congress to prevent non-governmental racial discrimination. It would take over 80 years for the Court to switch course, allowing for the government protection of civil rights in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S — this time under the Commerce Clause.
6. Lochner v. New York (1905): In this case, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law limiting bakery work hours to 10 hours a day, finding an implicit “liberty of contract” in the Due Process Clause and giving birth to the Lochner era.
7. Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918): Here, the Court ruled that Congress could not ban child labor in intrastate commerce. Sure, Congress could legislate against gambling and other vices, but whether children were to be kept out of mines and factories was a question only states could decide.
8. Kelo v. City of New London (2005): Taking land from one private party to give it to another is a valid public use under the Takings Clause, the Supreme Court ruled in Kelo. The decision allowed New London to condemn Susette Kelo’s land and transfer it to a private developer as part of a “comprehensive redevelopment plan.”
9. Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Commission (1992): A developer purchased vacant lots on South Carolina beaches. The state, seeking to prevent beach erosion, passed a management act which prevented Lucas from building homes on the land. That, according to the Supreme Court, was a total destruction of all “economically viable use” and a per se taking. Not only are the case’s factual conclusions implausible, but as UCLA Law professor Jonathan Zasloff notes, the opinion is full of “expressly and needlessly anti-environmental” views.
10. Bush v. Gore (2000): You don’t have to be a Democrat to question the wisdom of this Supreme Court case. In a partisan split, the Supreme Court’s five Republican appointees halted the recount of contested ballots in Florida, handing the election to George W. Bush. Even Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has come to regret the ruling.
11. Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker (2008): Want to send a message to corporate wrongdoers? Don’t expect the Roberts Court to make it easy. Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, one of the greatest environmental disasters of the time, and after years and years of litigation, Exxon was finally held responsible for its negligent captain and hit with $5 billion in damages. Then the Supreme Court ruled that Exxon couldn’t be subject to punitive damages in excess of compensatory ones, dropping total damages down to $500 million. Not only did Exxon evade billions in damages, the Supreme Court’s ruling increased the value of its stock by $23 billion in two days. That was particularly a boon to Justice Alito, who chose to recuse himself from the case because he owned Exxon stock.
12. Citizens United v. FEC (2010): Perhaps the most hated decision from the Roberts Court, Citizens United held that political donations are speech protected by the First Amendment, opening the floodgates to unlimited personal and corporate donations to “super PACs.” Though widely unpopular, the ruling isn’t going away anytime soon. It would take a constitutional amendment or a new Supreme Court makeup to reverse the decision.
I could go on and on but I don’t want to overwhelm you.
It’s OK if you don’t think that Texas should reassert her status as an independent nation. That’s your right. But at the same time ignorance is not an excuse.
I believe that every Texan should enjoy their God-given right to vote on how they are governed. I’m willing to stand up for my rights AND for what I believe in. That is why I feel that the best people to govern Texas are Texans and not the Federal Government. Make no mistake. I am not saying that we should have no government at all or that I hate my American brothers and sisters. Just like everyone else I have family and friends in nearly every state in the Union and they have the exact same right to self-government enjoyed by Texans. And I sincerely hope that they exercise it.