What would happen if an amendment to the US constitution was passed repealing the entire constitution? What would the legal status of the states, DC, and the territories be after the dissolution of the federal government?

  • 1
    If such an amendment were passed in practice, there would be some provision made for transition (either a new federal constitution or a system for the disposition of federal debts, assets, etc.). Are you asking what would happen if no such provisions were made?
    – phoog
    Jun 16 at 7:36
  • -1 Any such amendment ought to make provision for the new state of things.It is speculation to try to guess what that provision might be. If no such provision were made , then the courts or some authority would have to make one, there is no telling what it would be. Jun 16 at 14:59
  • Should I delete the question?
    – Someone
    Jun 16 at 18:00
  • I don't understand the downvotes. There's a legally correct answer to this.
    – bdb484
    Jun 16 at 19:08
  • @phoog yes, I'm asking what would happen if the amendment repealed the Constitution and did nothing else.
    – Someone
    Jun 16 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


The United States of America treats each individual state as a sovereign entity, subject to constraints imposed by the Constitution.

If the entire Constitution were repealed without providing for any successor constitution, the 50 states would become individual nations. I'd expect DC to revert to Maryland, which ceded that property to the federal government, and the territories would become independent entities, as well.

  • 1
    This a plausible but very speculative answer about an amendment or Act that has not even been seriously proposed much less passed. The exact content of such an amendment is unknown, The way in which the courts of the several states might interpret such an amendment is unknown. Thus this answer in only speculation Jun 16 at 20:40
  • @DavidSiegel Suppose the text of the amendment is "The Constitution of the United States of America is hereby repealed in its entirety."
    – Someone
    Jun 16 at 20:51
  • @Someone How the various state courts (and legislatures) would interpret their subsequent status is still speculation. Jun 16 at 20:55
  • How courts would interpret any law or fact pattern is speculation. That doesn't render informed analysis impossible.
    – bdb484
    Jun 16 at 20:58
  • @DavidSiegel if the federal government packed up and went home, what ruling could any state court make to change this answer? How could any state assert that it was anything other than an independent sovereign state? What else could it be? But this answer doesn't go nearly far enough into the unresolved questions that would persist, in particular the disposition of federal assets (real property at home and abroad, gold reserves, money, commodities, etc.) and liabilities, as well as the chaos that would ensue as the North American air traffic system would need to be completely reorganized, etc.
    – phoog
    Jun 16 at 21:48

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