2012 state petitions for secession

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In 2012, a number of state petitions to allow state secession were set up using the White House's petitioning system. The petitions, which had no legal standing, were set up after President Barack Obama won the 2012 presidential election. Ultimately, eight petitions crossed the threshold of 25,000 e-signatures necessary to trigger a response from an Obama administration official.

The petitions prompted responses from various state governors and other elected officials, most of whom rejected the notion. In January 2013, a White House staffer officially responded to the various petitions, noting that secession was inconsistent with the United States Constitution.

2012 petitions and counter-petitions[edit]

In 2012, a series of online petitions were launched on the WhiteHouse.gov "We the People" electronic petitioning system, asking for succession for various states; the petition for Texas garnered the most signatures, quickly garnering the 25,000 necessary to trigger a response from an Obama administration official.[1] The petitions were largely in response to President Obama's reelection in the 2012 presidential election.[1] The petitions prompted others visitors to launch "counter-petitions, asking that the president stop states from seceding"[2] or to deport secessionists.[3] The petitions were started by individual citizens, not by the states themselves, and have no legal standing.[4]

There were eventually secession petitions set up for all fifty states, with six (Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Texas) reaching the 25,000 threshold.[5] The Texas succession e-petition ultimately received the most e-signatures, almost 126,000.[6]

Responses by state officials and others[edit]

The petitions prompted responses from several state governors who rejected the idea. A spokeswoman for Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama said "Governor Bentley believes in one nation under God" and "We can disagree on philosophy, but we should work together to make this country the best it can be."[7] Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee said: "I don't think that's a valid option for Tennessee...I don't think we’ll be seceding.”[8] The press secretary to Governor Rick Perry released a statement saying Perry "believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it" but "also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government."[9]

Conversely, a spokeswoman for Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas said that Paul "feels the same now" as he did in 2009, when he said "It’s very American to talk about secession -- that’s how we came into being."[10]

A number of conservative media figures devoted time to discussing the petitions, such as Phil Valentine[11] and Sean Hannity.[12]

White House response[edit]

In January 2013, the "secession petitions filed by residents of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and five other states, as well as one counterpetition seeking the deportation of everyone who signed a secession petition," received an official response from White House Office of Public Engagement director Jon Carson.[6] Carson rejected the succession notion, writing that open debate was positive for democracy but that the Founders had established a "perpetual union" and that the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White (1869) that individual states had no right to secede.[6][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kevin Cirilli (November 13, 2012). "Secession petition leader: Obama's baked". Politico. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ Sarah Parnass, Texas Secession Petition Ignored by White House, ABC News (December 10, 2012).
  3. ^ John Archibald (November 14, 2012). "White House petitioned to deport secessionists -- and legalize pot". Al.com Blog. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ John MacCormack (November 14, 2012). "Secession petitions grow, but without legal weight". Associated Press staff. 
  5. ^ Danielle Ryan, White House receives secession pleas from all 50 states, Los Angeles Times (November 14, 2012).
  6. ^ a b c Manny Fernandez, White House Rejects Petitions to Secede, but Texans Fight On, New York Times (January 15, 2013).
  7. ^ George Talbot (November 13, 2012). "Gov. Robert Bentley: No secession for Alabama". Al.com. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ Heidi Hall (November 13, 2012). "Governor not signing Tennessee's secession petition". The Tennessean. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ Kevin Liptak (November 13, 2012). "Rick Perry doesn't support secession petition on White House website". CNN. Retrieved November 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ Elizabeth Flock (November 13, 2012). "Ron Paul Still Feels 'Secession is Very Much an American Principle'". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ Staff. "News You Need To Read 11/12-14/12". Phil Valentine. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  12. ^ Stephanie Condon (November 14, 2012). "Secessionist leader: Texas should separate from Marxist states". CBS News. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ David Taffet (January 15, 2013). "White House responds to Texas secession petition". Dallas Voice. Retrieved Jan 17, 2013.