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Proposed Initiative Seeks Vote On California Nationhood

Earlier this month, California's Secretary of State announced that the proponent of a California nationhood proposal may circulate the initiative for signature.  The proponent must secure the signatures of 365,880 registered voters (five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2014 general election) in order to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot.  According to the summary prepared by the Attorney General, the initiative:

Places question of whether California should become a separate nation on the ballot every four years, beginning November 2020. Voter approval of nationhood in any such election would then require California to demand federal recognition as a separate nation and distinct society. Federal government refusal to recognize California’s nationhood would require future placement on the ballot, every four years, the second question of whether California should unilaterally declare independence from the United States. Voter approval of unilateral independence from the United States in any such election would require California to declare independence and request admission to the United Nations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potentially large changes in California public budgets, assuming that this measure can be implemented legally, that voters approve changes to California’s relationship with the United States in later elections, and that these changes actually occur.

(emphasis in original).  Earlier this year, the same proponent received the green light to circulate for signature initiatives that would change the Governor of California's title to President and require the display of the California state flag in a position of "first honor" when displayed with the national flag.

California was admitted as a state in 1850, well before the Civil War.  See Constitucion del Estado Californio.  Nevada didn't enter the Union until 1864, while the Civil War was still being fought.  See Lincoln (The Movie) Overlooks Nevada. That timing explains why Nevada' constitution specifically abjures secession:

But the Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers as the same have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States; and no power exists in the people of this or any other State of the Federal Union to dissolve their connection therewith or perform any act tending to impair[,] subvert, or resist the Supreme Authority of the government of the United States.  The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its existance [existence], and whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority.

Nev. Const. Art. I, § 2.

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30172DBAB0084D3A8F39D7AF0A8E79BC.ashx Keith Paul Bishop
Partner at Allen Matkins
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