This is similar to my question about legal secession, but with one major difference. Is there any way a state could be expelled from the US without its consent? A Constitutional amendment could do this just as easily as one could allow a state to voluntarily secede, except that "no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate." If a state is removed from the Union, it obviously is not represented in the Senate. However, at this point, is it a state for the purposes of the constitution?

1 Answer 1


The Constitution does not describe such a method, and no one has ever tried to do so.

During and immediately following the U.S. Civil War, states that attempted to secede from the U.S. to join the Confederate States of America were not represented in Congress until their insurrections ceased and a post-war government approved by the Union forces in the Reconstruction era was in place. But this was not on the theory that these areas had ceased to be states, it was on the theory that there was a vacancy in the positions because these areas had not held elections for the U.S. House of Representatives, had not nominated U.S. Senators, and were in degradation of the U.S. Constitution once the 14th Amendment was adopted (denying the right to serve in office to confederate leaders until Congress acted otherwise).

Prior the 14th Amendment this denial of U.S. government representation was simply viewed as a function of practical reality and the war powers of Congress, and perhaps the "invasion or insurrection" and "Republican government" clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Certainly there is no recognized roadmap for doing so today.

  • So, during that period, there were Virginia seats at the House and Senate, but there was no validly elected representatives to fill these seats ? Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 12:48
  • @Gouvernathor That is my understanding.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 17:06

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