Chapter

The Union Forever?

in Lincoln's Constitution

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780226237930
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226237954 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226237954.003.0005
The Union Forever?

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Nullification requires state judges to follow the mandates of their state legislatures on constitutional issues, notwithstanding their own contrary views or those of the Supreme Court, thereby blocking the normal process of judicial review. This directly contradicts the supremacy clause's mandate that state judges follow the Constitution regardless of state law. Secessionist theory, however, is not inconsistent with a qualified form of federal supremacy. Secessionism can give federal supremacy its full scope with respect to whatever states happen to be part of the Union at any given time. Compared with nullification, secession requires less distortion of the constitutional structure—it merely adds an exit option. This chapter focuses on the question of whether the Constitution authorized secession. The balance of power between the states and federal governments has changed drastically over time. The evolution of American concepts of sovereignty was too complex and confused to support confident conclusions about the right to secede.

Keywords: secession; federal supremacy; sovereignty; constitution; nullification

Chapter.  8992 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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