Posts

Can Montana Secede from the Union?

Brad Johnson, the Secretary of State of Montana, writes in to the Washington Times letters page to deliver a warning to the US government: A collective rights decision by the court would violate the contract by which Montana entered into … Read More

By / February 27, 2008

Brad Johnson, the Secretary of State of Montana, writes in to the Washington Times letters page to deliver a warning to the US government:

A collective rights decision by the court would violate the contract by which Montana entered into statehood, called the Compact With the United States and archived at Article I of the Montana Constitution. When Montana and the United States entered into this bilateral contract in 1889, the U.S. approved the right to bear arms in the Montana Constitution, guaranteeing the right of "any person" to bear arms, clearly an individual right.

Johnson is referring to the pending D.C. v. Heller case, in which the Supreme Court will decide whether Washington, D.C.'s recently enacted handgun ban passes constitutional muster. If the high court decides that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms, Montana will be satisfied. On the other hand, if the court rules that the "militia" clause of the 2nd Amendment entails that the right to bear arms only pertains to state and federal armed forces, Montana is taking its ball and going home.

Or so Johnson suggests. The Civil War would seem to have decided the question of whether states can secede from the Union, though neo-secessionism continues to crop up, and often outside the south. "Second Vermont Republic" is a group in Vermont seeking to sever ties with the US and establish a, um, second Vermont Republic. Taking advantage of the news of the moment, the would-be rebels believe that the independence of Kosovo is a useful precedent for their cause. And it's true: who can forget the great Montpelier massacre of 89, in which 3,000 Vermonters were driven from their homes and pelted with scoops of Cherry Garcia?

Even more idiosyncratic is the "Free State Project" of New Hampshire, which is not a homegrown movement among granite-staters, but rather an effort to draw libertarians from across the country and the world to resettle in New Hampshire, so that they can create an electoral majority, break off from the United States, and found an anarcho-capitalist utopia.

After the 2004 election, there was also this plan.

Tagged with: