D.C.'s constitutional reality
By Mike Henry
Before people get too worked up over the demise of the D.C. voting rights bill [Metro, April 21], they should realize that trying to grant the District a vote in the House by congressional fiat is probably unconstitutional.
Article 1, Section 2, of the Constitution is clear: “The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states .....” And much as it might like, Congress cannot will statehood for the District under the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8, calls for an entity of no more than 10 miles square to “become the Seat of the Government of the United States.” And the 23rd Amendment refers to the District again as “the seat of government,” not as a state. Finally when the Supreme Court upheld the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the court believed it necessary to differentiate the District’s status when it protected the people of “any American state, territory, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.”
Clearly, under the Constitution, the District is not a state and therefore cannot be granted a vote in the House of Representatives.
| April 26, 2010; 11:28 AM ET
Categories: D.C., D.C. politics, DC Vote
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