Why Bother With the Constitution? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Why Bother With the Constitution?

I believe it was Joe Sobran who once said that the Constitution poses no threat to our form of government.  Certainly that is true with the plan to grant the District of Columbia a real, i.e., voting congressman.  Reports the Washington Times:

Buoyed by the election of President Obama and additional Democratic gains in Congress, backers of a bill granting the District full representation in the House perceive Senate action this weekas the turning point in a decades-long quest.

“If it goes through the Senate, I think it will become law,” said former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, a moderate Republican who served roughly 14 years in Congress and backed the city’s effort.

The District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 is expected to be debated Monday in the Senate, then come up for a crucial preliminary vote Tuesday. A final Senate vote could come before Friday.

The bill provides one full House vote for the heavily Democratic District and an additional seat for Republican-leaning Utah in an attempt at a bipartisan compromise on the issue. In 2007, a similar bill fell three votes shy of advancing in the Senate after passing the House on a 241-177 vote.

Now, one can sympathize with people who have no voting representatives in Congress (either House or Senate).  But the best answer would be to carve out a much smaller federal government enclave and retrocede the rest of the District back to Maryland, from whence it came more than two centuries ago.  Then residents could vote for both House and Senate members.

However, the plan before Congress is flatly unconstitutional.  Article I, Section 2 states:  “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States.”  Note that the Constitution says “states.”  Not “districts.”  Not “cities.”  Not “thingies.”  Not “geographical designations which we want to treat like states.”  But “states.”

But then, as Joe Sobran noted, the Constitution really doesn’t have much to do with the operation of the U.S. government any more.

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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