It has been proposed to make a region of northern California and southern Oregon into a separate state called Jefferson. I think a number of counties in northern California have supported it in referendums (or referenda, if you like) and the legislature of California has expressed a willingness to consider it if enough counties support it. Under the Constitution of the United States, Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1, the consent of the legislature of California would be needed and Congress would need to decide to admit the new state.

And likewise that of Oregon, except that no action has been taken there, and interest seems to be lacking.

So let us suppose part of California ultimately becomes the state of Jefferson, and the new state is admitted with a state constitution that explicitly names counties in Oregon that may join whenever they so choose, provided of course that Congress and the legislature of Oregon approve the measure, without any further action by the legislature of Jefferson than that clause in the state constitution.

For the purposes of Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, would that provision in the state constitution of Jefferson be sufficient legislative consent from the state of Jefferson, so that no act of the ordinary legislature of Jefferson would be needed?

  • In 1792 a part of Virginia became the state of Kentucky with the consent of the legislature of Virginia. In 1820, a part of Massachusetts became the state of Maine with the consent of the legislature of Massachusetts. In 1863 a part of Virginia became the state of West Virginia with the consent of a group of anti-secessionist Virginians who claimed to be the legislature of Virginia, and Abraham Lincoln decided to recognise their claim. In 1791, the de-facto independent republic of Vermont, which had been disputedly claimed by New York, did not become the state of Vermont, but....... – Michael Hardy May 22 '17 at 18:30
  • ....rather continued to be the state of Vermont under the same constitution it had been under, but got admitted to the Union after the legislature of New York consented to the admission of what it claimed was a part of New York and called "the community now actually exercising independent jurisdiction as 'the State of Vermont' ". – Michael Hardy May 22 '17 at 18:32
  • The act of Congress admitting Kentucky was actually passed before the act admitting Vermont, and the act admitting Kentucky took note of the consent of the legislature of Virginia. The later act admitting Vermont made no mention of New York's consent, but said that "the State of Vermont [had] petitioned the Congress to be admitted". – Michael Hardy May 22 '17 at 18:35
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    @DaleM : I have always understood the term as used in the context of U.S. state and federal constitutions to mean something that is above ordinary legislation. Is that wrong? – Michael Hardy May 22 '17 at 22:30
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    The more precise statement is that the UK does not have a single written constitutional document. Considering the sense "the manner in which the state and its institutions are constituted" then of course it has a constitution. It's just that its constitution is such that parliament is supreme. It certainly has had its share of constitutional crises, which is perhaps only to be expected given the uncodified nature of its constitution. – phoog May 23 '17 at 19:19

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