Let’s Mess with TEXAS!
Now that the midterm elections are complete it is time to do some rethinking. Thomas Friedman the New York Times columnist and author said in a talk at SMU on election night that in our rapidly changing world it is not time to think in the box or out of the box. It is time to think without a box at all.
So in that spirit let’s return to 1845.
Before we do that let’s look at the US Constitution.
Specifically Article IV Section 3.
New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.
We now have fifty states. The last two states admitted were Alaska and Hawaii in 1959. Puerto Rico is eager to be admitted as the fifty first state.
Now imagine adding four additional states all at once? Maybe American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands?
No, not those four protectorates.
How about West Texas, Dallas/East Texas, Austin/Hill Country, Houston/Coast, and San Antonio/Border/ El Paso?
That will never happen you say. …without the consent … of the Congress.
Congress will never give approval dividing Texas into five states. Au contraire mon ami.
They already have!
Back to 1845. When Texas was struggling as an independent nation it agreed to join the Union as the 28th state. The Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States approved by Congress on March 1, 1845 states
New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas and having sufficient population, may, hereafter by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution;
That is settled law. Or at least it is according to Michael Stokes Paulsen and Vasan Kesavan in the University of Texas Law Review in 2004 and in the University of Minnesota Alumni News in 2005 .
In some rather clever grammatical gymnastics they argue convincingly that the last phrase of Article IV Section 3 “without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress” applies to all of the three previous statements because the Founders used semicolons instead of periods.
New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; ① but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; ② nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states,③ or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.
Trust me! You’ll have to read the articles if you want more.
So the US Constitution allows it and Congress approved it. What else is left to do?
All that is needed to make the states of 1) Dallas-East Texas. 2) West Texas-Panhandle,3) San Antonio-Border-El Paso. 4) Houston-Piney Woods- Coastal, and 5) Austin-Central Texas a reality is approval by the Texas Legislature. (“With” the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.)
According to worldpopulationreview.com the current population of Texas is 28.7 million (up from 25.1 million in 2010) and the United States population is 327.6 million. So Texas has about 8 % of the US population but only 2% of representation in the Senate. I know, I know – the Senate was constructed by our Founders to balance out state representation, unlike the House of Representatives which was and is based on population (and gerrymandering!) Dividing into 5 states would give our population about 9% of the Senate votes.
How do you think that might split politically? My guestimate is shown in color on the map. I placed it beside the recent statewide Senate results.
I think West Texas/ Panhandle would definitely be RED and the border area San Antonio to El Paso definitely BLUE but less certain are Austin/Hill country, Dallas/East Texas, and Houston/Coast. I favor BLUE, PURPLE, PURPLE but you could argue PURPLE, RED, RED. But I think the future favors BLUE, PURPLE, PURPLE.
Regardless of the mix just imagine Texas with 10 Senators! Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer would not know what to do with all those Stetsons and Cowboy Hats!
So Texas Legislature GET BUSY!