Election prompts some to seek South Carolina secession

Since the re-election of President Barack Obama last week, people in more than 30 states, including South Carolina, have launched petition drives to the federal government to have their states peacefully secede from the United States and form their own new governments.

The petition drives have appeared on the online White House website We the People.

South Carolina's petition, along with most others, begins by quoting the preamble to the Declaration of Independence:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Coastal Carolina University professor Frederick Wood, who has taught constitutional law, says it would be illegal and financially disastrous for a state to secede.

"The citizens would no longer be eligible for Social Security and Medicare, any other federal program. Students wouldn't be eligible for financial student loans," Dr. Wood said.

Wood thinks people who sign the petitions are treating it as more of a fun, "what-if" scenario than a cause they're willing to die for.

He says it's interesting that while some people want to withdraw their states, others in Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico desperately want to join the union as states.

The We the People website promises to offer a government response, if at least 25,000 signatures are collected within 30 days. As of Tuesday evening, more than 16,000 people had signed the petition for South Carolina's secession since the petition was created Nov. 10.

The Texas petition has already garnered more than twice the minimum number of signatures to prompt a response.