The head of the Texas Republican Party threw what amounts to a tantrum after the Supreme Court decided to shoot down the effort by the state to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory. Texas GOP chair Allen West issued a statement saying that “perhaps” it’s time for “law-abiding states to bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had called on the court to overturn the results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, four states that were key to Biden’s victory. Attorneys general in 17 states and more than 100 Republican members of Congress backed the lawsuit that was shot down by the Supreme Court that said Texas doesn’t have the right to get involved in elections of other states.
In the context of the United States, secession primarily refers to the voluntary withdrawal of one or more states from the Union that constitutes the United States; but may loosely refer to leaving a state or territory to form a separate territory or new state, or to the severing of an area from a city or county within a state. Advocates for secession are called disunionists by their contemporaries in various historical documents.
Threats and aspirations to secede from the United States, or arguments justifying secession, have been a feature of the country’s politics almost since its birth. Some have argued for secession as a constitutional right and others as from a natural right of revolution. In Texas v. White (1869), the Supreme Court ruled unilateral secession unconstitutional, while commenting that revolution or consent of the states could lead to a successful secession.
The most serious attempt at secession was advanced in the years 1860 and 1861 as 11 Southern states each declared secession from the United States, and joined together to form the Confederate States of America. This movement collapsed in 1865 with the defeat of Confederate forces by Union armies in the American Civil War.