The deep divides within the US today have caused a stagnation in our body politic and the separate camps of Left and Right have less ground for compromise than before. This is because those disparate parties have fundamentally different views of the role of central government and the power to be accorded to it. This divide and discord has been evident for a couple of generations and the division has only deepened over that period of time. There is no logical, legal or moral impediment to dividing the US into two parts so that each is sovereign within its own borders yet retain essential relations for mutual defense and trade. Such a division would dramatically reduce tensions both political and emotional between those two halves and allow each to follow its own perceived path to a better world and future. It is possible that each could be “right” in its own way and achieve its goals within constant disagreement with the other side. A view of the laws to govern each prospective entity is in order.
The basic legal structure of each sovereign would be set forth at a Constitutional Convention called by the States under Article V of the Constitution. No doubt each would adopt almost without any changes the US Constitution as written and including its Amendments. Coastal America would probably not make any changes whatsoever but that would be their choice. Middle America would make modest but significant changes in all likelihood. This would not be revolutionary or radical. It is likely that the commerce clause would be tightened so that only laws that in fact directly and materially affect interstate commerce would be authorized under that provision. This would prevent the Congress of Middle America from passing virtually any law they wish with the claim that the subject of the legislation affects interstate commerce even though there is no common sense justification for such claim. The use and abuse of that section has been rampant since the days of FDR. Coastal America in contrast can leave as much authority to their central government as they wish. Middle America would likely consider some form of the various balanced budget amendments that have been proposed. Lastly there may well be discussion of eliminating the 13th and 14 Amendments since no one is proposing slavery these days and that was their only purpose. Maybe there would only be slight changes to refine the definition of citizenship in the 14th Amendment so that simply slipping illegally across our border would not qualify such a birth for citizenship.
The fundamental distinction between the Federal and Constitutional laws of each new nation would be the concept of Federalism. In Coastal America the central authority would be imbued with substantial powers because that is the desire of the majority of the Left. They can have what they wish for without interference from the Right. Likewise Middle America would strengthen the role of the States and diminish somewhat the power of its Federal government to dominate all affairs. The traditional roles of the States would be preserved in Middle America. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for example has issued regulations dictating the terms of mortgages and deeds of trust which affect the real estate laws of the various States. Real estate law should be the exclusive domain of the States as it has been from our inception. The same would apply to contract and tort law and educational laws and all the other that have been historically viewed as within the police powers of the States. Coastal America would be free to degrade the authority of their individual States as much as they wish and not be concerned with the actions of Middle America. Tax laws will be discussed in another chapter at a later date.
The untold tens of thousands of Federal laws existing on the books at the time of separation would be kept intact initially. Without doubt Middle America would begin paring back thousands of these laws and their companion regulations and the various departments of government and Cabinet positions. Some departments that would be reviewed for elimination or diminution of authority would be Commerce, HUD, Education,Labor,EPA and Energy. Likewise Middle America would probably make significant changes to HHS and reform all the welfare programs. Coastal America would be free to expand these departments and give them even more power if that is their desire. The Right believes that the Federal laws have multiplied to Kafkasque proportions to the point where individuals and businesses can’t function without violation of some Federal provision which leads to selective and discriminatory prosecution. The Left could retain all the laws they wish and maintain their faith in the fairness and compassion of the central government. The changes made by Middle America would not be radical within the concept of Federalism and the proper use of the commerce clause. Most personal and business affairs would continue on as they have before only with a significant reduction in regulatory burdens imposed by someone thousands of miles away.
Each new sovereign nation would be free to make a nation more prosperous, civil and blessed with individual rights as they see fit. The Left could increase union power or expand government control over business. It would be free to even nationalize such business as it thinks best. The Left could adjust Labor, minimum wage laws and affirmative action laws to their liking within having to do political battle with the Right. The Left has a vision; let them seek it. That is not the vision of the Right so allow each the freedom to pursue its chosen path. This division of the nation will increase freedom for both new nations and unburden them from the drag of the opposing camp. We are Americans and for every problem there can be a solution. The difficulties with a division will be present but all are solvable by the respective side when they can do as they wish without having to accommodate the other side. Those problems you are reminded are certainly no worse than the absolute assurance of consequential and perhaps tragic problems we face if we continue our current course of dispute, inaction, decline and likely civil disorder.
“Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.” Ben Franklin. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com