AP Story on Vt. Secession Movement Ignores Conspiracy Kooks, Liberalism
In April, NewsBusters contributor Dan Gainor criticized how the Washington Post puffed up a liberal secessionist movement in the state of Vermont. You know, the state that now has two very liberal
independent senators, socialist professor Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy (D), and previously gave the nation RINO-turned-independent Jim Jeffords. [UPDATE: See "Little Green Footballs" for more on just how liberal the secessionist movement's leaders are]
Well, now the Associated Press is running with the story, and outlets like CBSNews.com are peddling the piece to readers. In CBS's case this morning, on the Web site's front page (see screencap at right).
Nowhere in the story does the AP describe the key players behind the secession movement as liberal or even as "progressive," (not to mention conspiracy nutjobs-- see bottom of post) nor is any pundit brought in to chalk up their rumblings about secession as hysteria driven by Bush Derangement Syndrome.
What's more, the AP doesn't address the unconstitutionality of secession until late in the article and even then in a misleading fashion:
"It doesn't make economic sense, it doesn't make political sense, it doesn't make historical sense. Other than that, it's a good idea," said Paul Gillies, a lawyer and Vermont historian.
While neither the Vermont Constitution nor the U.S. Constitution forbids secession per se, few think it's viable.
"I always thought the Civil War settled that," said Russell Wheeler, a constitutional law expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
"If Vermont had a powerful enough army and said, `We're leaving the union,' and the national government said, `No, you're not,' and they fought a war over it and Vermont won, then you could say Vermont proved the point. But that's not going to happen," he said.
While nothing in the Constitution expressly forbids secession, the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White (1869) that unilateral secession is unconstitutional, but hinted that an accord between Congress and a particular state might allow for peaceful secession:
The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States. [74 U.S. 700, 726] When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States.
The conservative temptation to rid the body politic of a Marxist senator and former Gov. Howard Dean aside, it's highly doubtful that any Congress and president would assent to a state exiting the Union.
That only leaves revolution and I highly doubt a bunch of nudists will last long against the U.S. armed forces.
***Kirkpatrick Sale, mentioned in the AP article, wrote the following in September 2005 as a defense of Vermont secessionism***
What is most striking about the various conspiracy theories that have emerged to explain 9/11 is that so many of them seem plausible. It is hard not to feel that the Bush government could well have been not merely incompetent but actually to some extent complicit—actively or passively—in the hijackings and crashes. There are a great many holes in the official version of things, as is well documented elsewhere in this issue.