On Secession: An Analysis of Texas v. White

I was recently hired to review the Supreme Court opinion in the case of Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869). The opinion in that matter was written by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, who had served in Lincoln's cabinet during the Civil War prior to his appointment as chief justice. In the recent talk of secession, this case is often thrown out as having settled the matter legally, just as the Civil War settled the matter militarily. This memorandum of course does not address the wisdom of secession and does not advocate secession. It is devoted solely to analysis of whether Texas v. White is, as is suggested, binding precedent as to the future legality of a state attempting to secede. 1. Secession was not the ultimate issue in Texas v. White. Texas v. White is often cited as a case which definitively and directly ruled on Texas' right to secede. That is not the case. Texas v. White was a case about government bonds. It's all a little boring but it's important to understand just how...(Read Full Article)