The independent nation of California

Yo Matt!

What does it take for a state to secede from the US of A? I've been told that there is no constitutional requirement for a state not to secede, and it seems to me California would be better off without most of the rest of the country. Supposing we didn't get all violent and uppity like the South did in 1861, could we just peacefully vote on it and turn our backs to the East?

-- Peter T, San Diego

Given our recent behavior, we'll be lucky if we don't get booted out on the grounds that we're embarrassing the other 49. And aside from making it necessary for Zonies to get passports and shots, I'm not sure what the benefits would be.

You're right, according to USD Law School professor Michael Ramsey. There is no wording in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits secession. It all just goes back to the basic arguments in the Civil War: the Confederacy saying that the states created the Union, therefore any state has the right to withdraw; Lincoln saying the union created is greater than the sum of its parts, and it's illogical, impossible that any part could secede. We're still one nation indivisible because the North won the war, not because Lincoln had the stronger Constitutional argument. States' rights is still a hot topic. And before anyone asks if San Diego can secede from California if we just can't take it any more-- nope. The California Constitution is very clear about that. Sacramento created us; Sacramento can wipe us out with a stroke of the pen. So I guess we'd better behave ourselves.

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