Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Article IV

The last time Congress created a new state

March 12, 2019 By

On March 12, 1959, Congress approved Hawaii for admission to the union as the 50th state, marking the last time statehood was subject to votes in the House and Senate.

On this day, we added the 50th state

August 21, 2018 By NCC Staff

Hawaii joined the Union on this day in 1959, an act that remains historically significant but not without controversy.

California three-state plan faces major legal, political hurdles

June 13, 2018 By Scott Bomboy

On Tuesday, California’s secretary of state announced that enough petition signatures were certified to place an initiative on this fall’s ballot to divide the Golden State into three states. How realistic is this proposal and what are the constitutional hurdles?

Could Texas secede from the United States, if it wanted to?

May 2, 2016 By Jonathan Stahl

The upcoming Republican state convention in Texas may consider the topic of the state's secession from the United States. Here's a look at what practical and constitutional barriers would prevent that.

Constitution Check: Who is right about Puerto Rico’s self-governing status?

December 29, 2015 By Lyle Denniston

Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, looks at the Justice Department’s stance on Puerto Rico’s sovereignty, which will get tested twice in the Supreme Court this year.

The Slaughterhouse Cases: Interpreting the Reconstruction Amendments

October 19, 2015 By Jonathan Stahl

A narrow reading of the 14th Amendment's Privilege or Immunities Clause altered the trajectory of constitutional law.

Constitution Check: Is Puerto Rico just a colony under Congress’s control?

October 2, 2015 By Lyle Denniston

Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, looks at a case about Puerto Rico’s sovereignty just accepted by the Supreme Court and the Fifth Amendment concept of double jeopardy.

Plan to split California into six states a long shot at best

July 16, 2014 By NCC Staff

There’s a lot of buzz on the Internet today about a possible upcoming voter referendum to divide California into six states. But the constitutional reality is that such a plan faces very long odds.

Article IV: States' Relations

February 21, 2014 By NCC Staff

Article IV of the Constitution outlines the duties states have to each other, and the duties the federal government has to the states. It provides for the admission of new states and defines a process for changing state boundaries. It also originally included the Fugitive Slave clause, which is now obsolete.

So you want to form your own state? It may take a while

November 7, 2013 By NCC Staff

Voters in five Colorado counties said on Tuesday they want to form their own state. But the breakaway regions face almost impossible constitutional and political obstacles.

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