Some Missouri residents file secession petitions to White House

The Kansas City StarNovember 13, 2012 

— Residents in Missouri and nearly two dozen states have filed petitions on a White House website seeking approval for their state to "withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."

The secession petitions were inspired by President Barack Obama's re-election to a second term.

The petitions appear on a section of the White House website called "We the People" that invites users to submit or sign petitions about policy changes they would like to see. If a petition gets 25,000 signatures within a month the White House staff will "review it, ensure it's sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response."

The Texas petition has reached that goal. In Missouri, only 4,00 people have signed up so far, and many of the signatories aren't from the Show-Me State.

Missouri's petition, which is nearly identical to numerous other states says:

As the founding fathers of the United States of America made clear in the Declaration of Independence in 1776: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." "...Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government..."

It's important to note that the petitions have no legal significance, and the constitution does not allow states to unilaterally secede from the union.

This is not the first time this year Missouri has garnered headlines for talk of secession. A bill sponsored by state Sen. Brian Nieves, a Washington Republican, would have amended the Missouri constitution to prohibit state government from "recognizing, enforcing, or acting in furtherance of any federal action that exceeds the powers delegated to the federal government."

According to the bill, the prohibition would have covered a host of topics, from gun restrictions to legalized abortion to the recognition of same-sex unions, among others.

Andrew Cohen, a contributing editor at The Atlantic and legal analyst for 60 Minutes, argued at the time that in addition to being more or less an open call for secession, Nieves' legislation was "patently unconstitutional but remarkably candid in expressing the seditious level of dissent circulating through some state legislatures around the country."

The bill ultimately was approved by a committee but never came up for debate before the full Senate.

Nieves was appointed by his GOP Senate colleagues last week to serve as Majority Caucus Whip.

Another bill introduced in the Missouri House this year by Republican Rep. Kurt Bahr would have made it a crime for any government official in the state to enforce the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The bill cleared the House and a Senate committee.

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