On Monday, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered approximately 140 51-star American flags to be flown along Pennsylvania Avenue for Flag Day in support of statehood for the District of Columbia. Bowser’s directive is a violation of the U.S. Flag Code. Section 3 of the U.S. Flag Code prohibits displays of an American flag in the District of Columbia featuring additional designs and features. While violations of the flag code are not subject to legal punishment, the U.S. Flag Code has remained the prescribed guideline for respectfully displaying the American flag since 1998. These statutory implications do not seem to have concerned Bowser.
While Bowser and congressional Democrats enthusiastically lobby for D.C. to become a state, granting D.C. that status would violate the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution establishes the District of Columbia as the seat of government by cessions from particular states. This clause makes it clear that the seat of government is intended to be a neutral entity not to be given statehood. James Madison affirmed this to be true, arguing that statehood for the seat of government would necessarily bring officials under the sway of the state. Madison contended that the federal government would no longer be beholden to the interests of the nation, but to one inordinately powerful state.
In addition, prominent figures such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have argued that the national government would also become beholden to the Democratic Party if D.C. were given statehood. The District of Columbia has voted for the Democratic candidate in all 15 presidential elections it has participated in. Democrats would maintain this political monopoly if D.C. were to become a state, guaranteeing Democrats an additional pair of Senate seats and apportioned representatives. It is little wonder then that House Democrats quickly passed the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.
Mayor Bowser’s support of D.C. statehood demonstrates her contempt for both the intentions of the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution. Her disrespect for the American flag should surprise no one.
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