White House: Florida, Other States Cannot Secede From U.S.

A petition with more than 37,000 signatures to allow the Sunshine State to withdraw from the United States has been denied.

SARASOTA, FLA—It looks like the United States will be stuck with Florida whether folks in the Sunshine State like it or not.

A petition before the White House to allow Florida to peacefully secede from the United States was denied Friday by the White House

More than 37,000 people had signed the petition, and similar petitions in eight other states, including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas. Also denied was a petition to deport everyone who had signed a similar petition. 

Secession was put out of the realm of state rights after the Civil War, partially through the 14th Amendment, Slate reports, and a Supreme Court interpretation confirmed as much in 2010, according to Politico.com. Those arguments are spelled out by the White House.

The legal argument was that the state would have to sue the U.S., and the U.S. government would have to be consented to be sued for a declaratory judgment, and in that case, the federal government would probably decline.

In the White House's response to all 10 petitions, and titled "Our States Remain United," spokesman Jon Carson wrote:

Thank you for using the White House's online petitions platform to participate in your government.

In a nation of 300 million people -- each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs -- democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted.

But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart.

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. As President Abraham Lincoln explained in his first inaugural address in 1861, "in contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States is perpetual." In the years that followed, more than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the States. And shortly after the Civil War ended, the Supreme Court confirmed that "[t]he Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States."

Although the founders established a perpetual union, they also provided for a government that is, as President Lincoln would later describe it, "of the people, by the people, and for the people" -- all of the people. Participation in, and engagement with, government is the cornerstone of our democracy. And because every American who wants to participate deserves a government that is accessible and responsive, the Obama Administration has created a host of new tools and channels to connect concerned citizens with White House. In fact, one of the most exciting aspects of the We the People platform is a chance to engage directly with our most outspoken critics.

So let's be clear: No one disputes that our country faces big challenges, and the recent election followed a vigorous debate about how they should be addressed. As President Obama said the night he won re-election, "We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future."

Whether it's figuring out how to strengthen our economy, reduce our deficit in a responsible way, or protect our country, we will need to work together -- and hear from one another -- in order to find the best way to move forward. I hope you'll take a few minutes to learn more about the President's ideasand share more of your own.


Florida Secession Petition Coverage

  • Residents Petition White House For Florida To Secede From U.S.
  • Florida Secession Movement: Your Thoughts?

Kathryn Baker January 15, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Anyone who signed such a petition should ask themselves what this country would be like if it were split up into many different groups that were not united under one flag. One of the reasons this country is so great is the fact that we are all united from the east to the west coast and from North to South. Look at all of the squabbles in Europe where there are so many varied governments trying to exist in one area. We are lucky that our forefathers founded this amazing country on this continent and that we enjoy the freedom that was won by all of the citizens and soldiers before us. I say "America, love it or leave it".
His Sails Unfurled January 16, 2013 at 05:31 AM
No problem! Obama just simply needs to issue another executive order overturning yet another amendment to the Constitution. He's done it before. Congress and the Supreme Court didn't complain, didn't point out the unconstitutionality of his orders, and did not nullify them. An Executive Order permitting the State of Florida (or Texas or wherever) to secede is all it will take. And since World War II was won by the side that believes every so strongly in "self-determination," why the President and Congress should be absolutely giddy over the thought that Floridians are finally acting mature and taking responsibility for their own lives - self-determination.
His Sails Unfurled January 16, 2013 at 05:39 AM
Correction: The petitions are not all from former slave states. Another correction: It is hardly rabid for a person to object to someone of a particular race - "African-American" or "black" - being President. It might be odd, narrow-minded, mistaken, or even suggestive of a moral or mental incongruities. On the other hand, it might have a rational explanation. For example, if an American Indian in 1789 said she didn't want a "white" man to be President, it is possible her narrow, racist view could have been formed as a result of treatment her tribe, family, or she herself had received at the hands of "white" people (not that that would have been any worse than the treatment they would have received at the hands of "red" people.) But it is hardly rabid. It's just a personal opinion. Rabid is when people start actually biting with teeth and ripping with claws.
bob liberty January 17, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Remember at some point someone we don't like as much as obama will be prez. I am fearful all the power we gave to O might be missued by someone later - ever heard that forward thinking from a Dem?
Aimee Hunter January 18, 2013 at 04:07 AM
You were not ignored. You were told "NO."


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »