The United States Senate passed a bill to add two voting members to the U.S. House. The vote is specifically intended to give the DC area a voting member which it has never had. There is a problem with the bill that this article notes:  it is unconstitutional. Representatives are reserved for the states. Washington, DC is not a state. It is not a state by careful choice of our nation’s Founders, who desired the location of the nation’s capital to not rest on any specific state property. Instead, it is to be the only purely national territory in our country, the possession of the entire country and therefore not subservient to any one state (yes, there was a day when state power actually existed and could have been a threat; sadly not as much these days).

The common objection (one I heard from a DCer this past weekend) is that the people of DC do not get the representation the rest of the country receives. That is certainly not a foolish argument. However, it presents an incomplete picture. DC is the nation’s capital and therefore contains both houses of Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court. No other state has all three branches of the National government operating in its backyard. This unrivaled proximity to the levers of power has given it unique access to push for its own concerns.

In light of this consideration, I do not see any reason to neglect the Founders original purpose. Keep DC unique, not to be just like any other state but to be the particular portion of the people as Americans. Even if I felt the other way, this law is not the way to do it and I hope the Supreme Court strikes it down ASAP. If they really want to change the policy, an amendment is the only means (they tried it before and failed, by the way).

1 Comment

  1. Clearly, if we needed the 23rd Amendment to give D.C. electors we need an amendment to give them representatives. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the Constitution or not, you can’t just choose to ignore it. I don’t have a problem with them having representatives if there was an amendment, but I very much have a problem with blatant disregard for the Constitution. I really hope the Supreme Court strikes this down; otherwise we are on a slippery slope.

    Gregs last blog post..Obama’s Charity Tax: The War On Charity

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