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Nikki Haley says Texas can secede from the United States: ‘that’s their decision to make’

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley stumbled through a question about whether the state of Texas has a right to secede from the United States, and she claimed that it is “their decision to make.”

During an interview on “The Breakfast Club” podcast, Charlamagne tha God asked the 2024 presidential hopeful if she would “use force against Texas if they would try to secede from the Union over the border issue?” Charlamagne referenced a 2010 interview with Haley saying the U.S. Constitution allows for states to secede. 

“I believe in states’ rights. I believe that everything should be as close to the people to decide,” Haley said, adding that she supported Gov. Greg Abbott’s razor wire fencing measure to protect his state amid the growing border crisis.

When pressed about the issue of secession, Haley said that, “If Texas decides they want to do that, they can do that. If that whole state says we don’t want to be part of America anymore. I mean, that’s their decision to make.”

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“I don’t think government needs to tell people how to live, how to do anything. I mean, I think that we need to let freedom live,” Haley added. 

“I think you know, states are going to make decisions, but let’s talk about what’s reality. Texas isn’t going to…seceed. I mean, that’s not something that they’re going to do,” Haley said. 

Texas is currently in a standoff with the Biden administration over the state’s razor wire fence along Eagle Pass that has seen record migrant crossings in recent months. The Supreme Court ruled that, temporarily while the case continues in lower courts, the federal government can cut down the fence and Texas can keep building it. 

After the controversial 5-4 decision last week, rumors swirled about how tensions would escalate between the Lone Star state and the federal government. 

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Texas Capitol building dome with the Texas flag waving in front.

Gov. Abbot said he would invoke Article 1, Section 10, which he says was “triggered” by Biden’s inaction at the border. That constitutional provision says, “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.” 

However, the Constitution does not allow for any state to secede from the Union, even Texas. 

The Texas Tribune wrote, “Even before Texas formally rejoined the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that secession had never been legal, and that, even during the rebellion, Texas continued to be a state.”

When Texas rejoined the Union in 1845, its annexation resolution said that Texas could, in the future, choose to divide itself into “New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas.” 

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Texas border, migrants

However, the language of the resolution merely says that Texas could be split into five new states. It says nothing about splitting apart from the United States. Only Congress has the power to admit new states to the Union, which last occurred in 1959 with the admission of Alaska and Hawaii, the Tribune notes. 

The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia put the issue to rest when he was asked by a screenwriter in 2006 whether there was a legal basis for secession.

“The answer is clear,” Scalia wrote. “If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede. (Hence, in the Pledge of Allegiance, ‘one Nation, indivisible.’)”

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