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August 06, 2013 10:53 AM UTC

Secession Silliness Continues

  • by: Colorado Pols
Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway
Sad Sean Conway and his sad plaid jacket

As The Denver Post reports, Weld County plans to put the question of secession from Colorado on its county ballot, mostly because Sean Conway is sad:

A secession question is very likely to appear on the Weld County ballot in November, commissioner Sean Conway said Monday.

"It sends a very clear message to Denver that people are unhappy," Conway said.

Representatives from Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Logan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Weld counties participated in a conference call Monday afternoon, but most said they would not OK a ballot question until county attorneys delivered final wording. Participants agreed, however, that such a wording should be uniform.

Weld County has been spearheading the 51st state initiative, which supports secession from Colorado.

ncflagWhen Conway and friends first floated the idea of seceding from Colorado, it was recognized as the goofy PR stunt that it was. Yes, some people in rural Colorado were not happy with some of the legislation approved last spring, but that's how Democracy works.

The idea has since sputtered, predictably so, as "town hall" meetings were held throughout Eastern Colorado. While Conway seems hell-bent on keeping the nonsense alive, others are seceding from the secession debate:

Lincoln County administrator Roxy Devers said the commissioners in her county are not planning to put the measure on the 2013 ballot.

"They have not heard a lot of their constituents stating this would be a good idea," Devers said. [Pols emphasis]

From what we've been hearing, comments from the likes of Devers are increasingly common. Conway's silly stunt drew some attention to the issues at first, but it's becoming an embarrassment for many rural Coloradans.

We have a hard time seeing where Conway hopes to go with this effort, since it is virtually impossible for his merry band to actually form a 51st state. It's not like Conway can use this as a springboard to run for state office, either; as we've pointed out again and again, around 90% of the voting population in Colorado lives along the Front Range, between Fort Collins and Pueblo. Some rural Coloradans may not be pleased with the state legislature, but it would be completely absurd for an elected body to focus on the wishes of 10% of the state at the expense of everyone else.

It bears repeating that Weld County is the largest of the rural counties, and they have barely one-third the number of voters as Denver. There's no "anti-rural Colorado" conspiracy. People just don't live there anymore.


12 thoughts on “Secession Silliness Continues

  1. A modest proposal for Weld County and northeastern Colorado: you might elect legislators who can tie their own shoes without help, can distinguish between rhetoric and policy and know the difference between campaigning and governing.

    Or keep imitating Mesa County. Elect dickwads who sputter wingnut platitudes and don't be surprised when stuff you don't like gets passed.


    1. Or, continuing in the Mesa County theme, when your legislators talk tough about fighting for rural Colorado on the campaign trail back home, but turn into complete bootlickers when faced with the GOP establishment on the Front Range.

      …Josh who?

  2. Secession, with the approval of a federal law adopted by Congress and a state law, is at least something that is constitutionally recognized as an option, even though it is hopeless unless and until the votes are there to approve the idea (which they never will be if they don't start talking about what's in the deal for anyone but themselves).

    Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, which has not been amended subsequently, states "New states may be admitted by the congress into this Union; but no new state 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."

    If either the House or the Senate in Washington D.C. or in Denver is controlled by Democrats, the desire to prevent to new Republican Senate seats when both Colorado seats are held by Democrats won't work.

    The "moderate" alternative, to give rural counties overrepresentation in the Colorado General Assembly relative to their population, is just flat out unconstitutional in a completely unambiguous way.  The U.S. Supreme Court reached the conclusion that state legislative districts had to be apportioned on an equal population basis in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S.186 (1962) (which held that this was a justicable issue) and Reyolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 553 (1964) (which held that drawing districts based on counties of unequal population was unconstitutional if it abridged the one man, one vote principle). 

    This holding has been reaffirmed and strengthened over and over again as a bedrock federal constitutional limitation on redistricting ever since and hasn't been a very important conservative constitutional law objective to overturn since then.  For example, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that holding in a 2004 gerrymandering case in which both the conservative majority and the liberal dissenters cited it as good law, even though they disagreed about other reasons that provided a legal basis for federal court review of state redistricting plans. Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004).  The precedent's validity was reaffirmed again in Bartlett v. Strickland, 556 U.S. 1 (2009), as part of a holding by a conservative majority that the Voting Rights Act allowed a state to honor a "whole county" redistricting provision in a state constitution which calls for counties not to be divided when this is not necessary to assure equal population districts and does not prevent the formation of a majority-minority district.

    The "moderate" position relating to redistricting is legally DOA and any lawyer with any familiarity with constitutional law or election law knows it.

  3. Wouldn't it be a hoot if the like eggmendments, they put it up for a vote and it failed miserably.  I'd love to see them spend tax payer money for that vote.

  4. I think most of the good people of northeastern Colorado would ask themselves, do we really want to join a new state that was dominated by a county that is run by the likes of Sean Conway, and decide that was not a good idea.

  5. I think that the 'blue' counties and/or enclaves of Western Colorado ought to secede so we are no longer embarrassed by the likes of Randy and Jared and their ilk, that get all the attention–The State of the Upper Western Slope or High Colorado or something–your Summit, Eagle, Pitkin, Gunnison, San Miguel, La Plata, etc. counties, with a North Fork Valley or Carbondale tossed in. 

    So there.  I'm going to work to get it on the ballot because 1) I need some attention and 2) there is nothing better to spend tax dollars on or get people engaged in, there being no real issues or problems to address or solve.  The Balkanization of Colorado.  Sean Conway’s a hero.

  6. voting on this could be kind of funny

    1) if you take it seriously I think it will fail badly, maybe 5:1

    2 if you don't take it seriously, but see it as an opportunity to tell the Front Range that you don't like the way you're being treated it may pass 2:1

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