If you paid any attention to the tea parties and such in protest of taxes, you may have heard the governor of Texas make a comment about how any unhappy state has the right to secede from the United States. This brought up many different things, including the fact that Oklahoma passed a resolution back in June of 2008 to secede from the United States!
Well, that’s what you might have heard, but that’s not quite correct. Rumors that Oklahoma (and about 20 other states that followed Oklahoma’s example) seceded are largely exaggerated. However, a resolution truly was passed that made it seem like the state had left the union. House Joint Resolution 1089, which passed on June 15, 2008, was a resolution adopted by the 51st state legislature.
This resolution, however, is actually a statement of sovereignty, not a declaration of secession. Basically, it states that the tenth amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees certain powers to each state, specifically those powers not delegated to the federal government. The resolution further states that the 51st legislature of Oklahoma believes that the federal government has passed a number of mandates that directly violate the tenth amendment. It then states that Oklahoma claims all of these rights and powers not given to the federal government and that the federal government must cease making and enforcing mandates that are outside of their power.
What does all this mean in plain language? Basically, Oklahomans (or at least the legislature) believe that the federal government is making decisions that should be left up to each individual state and the government is to stop doing this immediately. It doesn’t really say what Oklahoma will do if the federal government doesn’t stop, but most people see it as a threat of secession.
Is it really? No. As a resolution, it doesn’t set any policy or cause any action to occur. However, it is an interesting tactic, and it was bold enough that a number of other states followed Oklahoma’s example. However, as it was passed in 2008, it was directed at a completely different president and his administration. With President Obama’s administration now in power, the concern over federal mandates may no longer be an issue.
Further reading on this resolution:
Don’t Tread on Mike discusses the resolution.
Blog Talk Radio has the full resolution available.
The LRC Blog also includes the full resolution along with comments.