Why Stop with a House Seat for D.C. - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Why Stop with a House Seat for D.C.

Legislation is moving forward to bestow a House seat on Washington, D.C.  Reports the Washington Post:

The 62 to 34 vote was on whether to consider the bill. But the strong “yes” tally indicated that there could be enough support to pass the measure in the Senate, which has a 60-vote threshold to prevent a filibuster. Two years ago, the bill died after failing to clear that hurdle.

The vote came as the legislation moves ahead in the House, where it enjoys broad support. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said she expects the legislation to pass the Judiciary Committee today. And, for the first time in years, the bill also has a champion in the White House.

The legislation still faces obstacles — such as possible attempts to kill it through amendments and a probable challenge that could go to the Supreme Court. But a beaming Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) called the initial Senate vote “a breakthrough in the full franchise of the people of the District of Columbia.”

No one disputes the justice in enabling Washington, D.C. residents to vote.  But the Constitution–remember it?  The document drafted by the constitutional convention, which theoretically has something to do with the U.S. government–says that House Members are chosen by the people of the states.  You know, those inconvenient political entities which still exist despite the efforts of countless politicians in Washington, D.C. to take over their responsibilities.

Washington, D.C. isn’t a state.  That’s an unpleasant bit of reality on Capitol Hill, so it isn’t likely to have any impact on the bill’s final passage.

If “state” really doesn’t mean state, but instead something like “thingie” when it comes to congressional apportionment, why stop with the District?  Let’s give every city a House Member.  And every county.  Every water district.  And, heck, give every Rotery Club a House Member too.  If the Constitution really doesn’t bind Congress, legislators might as well be truly creative.

It appears the only hope for maintaining any respect for the Constitution will be the Supreme Court, since passage of the D.C. amendment will lead to a court case that is likely to end up in the high court.  Then we will find out if the notion of a “living Constitution” goes so far as to eliminate any meaning of the original terms of the text.

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