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Posted at 12:44 AM ET, 01/28/2009

Voting Rights for D.C.?

By Marisa Katz

The Post editorial board writes today that it's time for Congress to grant voting rights to D.C. -- and that constitutional objections are a ruse. Read the editorial below and discuss with a member of the editorial board.

Editorial: Representation for D.C.

ENOUGH. That, thankfully, was the powerful message from House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) at yesterday's hearing on D.C. voting rights. He is not only correct about the intolerable injustice of American citizens being denied representation in their government but also that the debate has gone on for far too long. So it is welcome to hear his resolve to bring a voting rights bill to a quick vote -- a move that one hopes will spur similar action by the Senate.

Mr. Hoyer was, at his insistence, among the witnesses who testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee considering legislation to give the District a voting representative in the House. Similar legislation, which like the current bill would also have added a seat in Utah, passed the House last year but was blocked in the Senate when it failed to get the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. This time, the greater number of Democrats in both chambers has improved the bill's prospects -- as does the support of President Obama.

The unusual appearance of the majority leader as a witness at a hearing was a rebuke to suggestions that Congress shouldn't rush to consider this measure, that it has more important matters on its agenda. No one at yesterday's hearing -- even those who vehemently oppose the bill -- could argue it's okay for the hundreds of thousands of Americans living in the nation's capital to be taxed, sent to war and governed without any real say in what their government does. That point was underscored by both the eloquence of the testimony from a decorated D.C. Iraq war veteran and the far-fetched suggestion by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) that the problem be addressed by excusing District residents from paying federal taxes.

Much of yesterday's discussion came down to the now familiar back-and-forth over whether the measure is constitutional. There are valid legal arguments for and against, with noted scholars on both sides, but the question is best left to the courts to decide. The use of such concerns to block the bill is a ruse by those who lack the political will to enfranchise D.C. residents. At this stage, as Mr. Hoyer argues, the case should be made on principle, not technicalities: "If you oppose this bill, you need to tell us: Just what does our country gain by treating the people of Washington, D.C., differently from America's other 300 million?"

By Marisa Katz  | January 28, 2009; 12:44 AM ET
Categories:  DC Vote  
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Comments

It is so frustrating that the Post and other "go slow" establishment types are repeating this "voting rights"fraud to mislead,divert and confuse the public and congress from the only constitutional remedy; STATEHOOD.
If the Post really wants to promote a vision of post civil war, post civil rights America it should refuse to promuglate and repeate the old evil techniques from slavery days where 3/5 of a Black man for voting purposes (for their White owners)was deemed proper representation for enslaved Africans. Or the wicked technique of the 1950's segregationist of "go slow" integration.
Those techniques, used to deny Black political and social aspirations are the equivelent of todays "voting representation" I.E. we are not entitled to full American rights, just some of them .... maybe 3/5 of them, or maybe we will get our rights, with "all due haste".... later on.It is unconsible that this fruad, "voting rights", is being touted as a "just" solution to the glaring and embarassing fact of an exploited and abused colony, right at the heart of the worlds leading "democracy?"


t.e.smith
D.C. STATEHOOD GREEN PARTY

Posted by: tesmith1 | January 29, 2009 5:03 AM | Report abuse

Should the District have voting rights in Congress. Absolutely. Should the rest of the country have to give up some of their vote to get it? No way.

The proposal, as I'm aware, calls for creating a new 'freelance' House Rep for Utah.

This is blatantly unconstitutional. As a resident of one of the other 49 states, my representation in the House would be reduced by a small but measurable margin. Utah should not gain to 'offset' the District's new vote.

A straight up vote to give 2 Senators and 1 House Rep is what should be voted on. Let the Republicans try and spin voting No on that.

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 3, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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