It’s not simply secession, but sovereignty. A state doesn’t need to secede, but merely the ability to do so, in order to keep the feds in line; it’s like any defense, i.e. you have it so you don’t need to use it.
Otherwise, the federal government becomes an uncontestable ruling oligarchy which wields absolute power over every state, and there’s nothing they can do about it; as Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Kentucky Resolutions:
“Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes…. the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”
This was made clear by James Madison as he wrote in January of 1800 for the Virginia Assembly, in his Report on the Virginia Resolutions:
“It is indeed true that the term ‘states’ is sometimes used in a vague sense, and sometimes in different senses, according to the subject to which it is applied. Thus it sometimes means the separate sections of territory occupied by the political societies within each; sometimes the particular governments established by those societies; sometimes those societies as organized into those particular governments; and lastly, it means the people composing those political societies, in their highest sovereign capacity. Although it might be wished that the perfection of language admitted less diversity in the signification of the same words, yet little inconvenience is produced by it, where the true sense can be collected with certainty from the different applications. In the present instance, whatever different construction of the term ‘states,’ in the resolution, may have been entertained, all will at least concur in that last mentioned; because in that sense the Constitution was submitted to the “states;” in that sense the states ratified it; and in that sense of the term ‘states,’ they are consequently parties to the compact from which the powers of the federal government result.”
In other words, Madison holds, each state ratified the Constitution as a sovereign nation unto itself, and thus they are parties to the Constitution as sovereign nations.?Hence, he here held that the Constitution formed an international VOLUNTARY federal republic among sovereign nations.
Madison then goes on to illustrate the fallacy– and disaster– of construing the Constitution as a national compact among subordinate states:
“On any other hypothesis, the delegation of.. power would annul the authority delegating it; and… subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution which all were instituted to preserve.”
And that’s PRECISELY what transpired under that construction, when presidents Jackson and Lincoln claimed a national compact among the states, with ensuing national authority to maintain sovereign integrity among the states via military coercion– as well as the dictatorial will to do so, and ensuing obsessive demagoguery and dogma to the resulting pseudo-state.
And thus we currently find ourselves in thralldom to a falsely established empire, which pretends itself a token democracy to exercise absolute power in the name of service to the people over whom it reigns– truly, as Madison stated, “the delegation of power annulling the power delegating it.”