Print Columns   |   Web Chats   |   Blog Archives   |  

The Conservative Case for D.C. Voting Rights

Just as D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty cheered voting rights advocates with a new effort to lobby Congress for the right that all other Americans take for granted, and just as congressional Democrats were gearing up to show that they intend to be more aggressive on D.C. voting rights than the Republican leadership had been, along comes the Congressional Research Service with a whole new barrier.

The non-partisan Research Service concluded that giving D.C. residents a full, voting seat in the House of Representatives is probably unconstitutional. Suddenly, the air seemed to escape from the voting rights balloon.

Now, D.C. voting rights advocates are scrambling to reassert Congress's authority to create a House seat for the District. On the theory that the Democrats have more to gain from a D.C. seat than the Republicans, the new lobbying effort is aimed at persuading Republicans that this is not only the right thing to do, but a legally well-founded path as well. And who better to make that case than two solid citizens of the right, conservative legal scholars Kenneth Starr, the former Clinton impeachment case special prosecutor, and Viet Dinh, the Georgetown law professor and former Justice Department official.

Starr notes that the Constitution is silent on the matter of whether D.C. residents may vote. In the Founders' era, there was no expectation that people would live in the capital, which was then little more than an idea surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. But Starr says despite that silence, Congress has the authority to adapt to the fact that a full-fledged city grew up here; the Constitution expressly says that "The Congress shall have power ... to
exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" over the District of Columbia.

The longstanding argument against D.C. representation is based on the idea that the Constitution reserves that right for "states," and the District is not a state. But Starr notes that Congress routinely regulates the flow of commerce between the District and the states, and that power is also expressly reserved in the Constitution for Congress to act on commerce "among the several states." That means Congress can also decide that the best way to govern the District is for Washingtonians to have the same voting rights as other taxpaying Americans.

Starr writes:

A republican, that is representative, form of government, is a foundational cornerstone in
the Constitution's structure; the denial of representation was one of the provocations that
generated the Declaration of Independence and the War that implemented it. Article I creates the
republican form of the national government, and Article IV guarantees that form to its people,
regardless of whether they reside in a District or a State.

Dinh agrees, noting that the courts "have consistently validated legislation treating the District as a state." Indeed, he recalls that Congress specifically allowed D.C. residents to vote in Virginia and Maryland elections and that in the original debate over ratification of the Constitution, delegates assumed that Virginia and Maryland would take care that D.C. residents would retain their voting rights in those states. "Will not such state take care of the liberties of its own people?" a North Carolina delegate asked.

Dinh shows how the Founders intended that D.C. residents be fully represented in Congress, which indeed was the case in the last decade of the 18th century. The most recent federal court rulings on D.C. voting rights maintained that it's not the courts' role to grant the city a vote in the House. Rather, it's Congress's job. Dinh finds case after case in which the District is treated like a state in federal law and practice.

And he notes that even Americans living overseas--not in a state by any stretch of the definition--have been assured the right to vote in the elections of whichever state they last called home.

"The overseas voter need not be a citizen of the state where voting occurs. Indeed, the voter need not have an abode in that state, pay taxes in that state, or even intend to return to that state," Dinh writes. "If there is no constitutional bar prohibiting Congress from permitting overseas voters who are not citizens of a state to vote in federal elections, there is no constitutional bar to similar legislation extending the federal franchise
to District residents."

Dinh calls the lack of voting rights in the District a "historical accident." Accidents can be repaired.

By Marc Fisher |  February 21, 2007; 7:44 AM ET
Previous: Virgil Goode on Muslims, Again | Next: Shovel Your Walk--Or Else (Or Else What?)

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Of course Congress may grant us DC Citizens representation in the national legislature. DUH! Take a look at this:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
This is the entire 16th Amendment and for some reason the District of Columbia is omitted yet Congress passed laws including us in the 16th Amendment. If the Congress can legally tax us, then they can legally grant us a seat as well.

Posted by: John | February 21, 2007 8:16 AM

I am a DC resident and have no desire to vote for Members of Congress or for DC to have voting representation on Capitol Hill. I knew when I moved to DC that I would not be able to vote for Members of Congress.

In 1961, we, the American people amended the Constituion to allow DC residents to vote for President. If we want DC residents to have representatives in the Congress, we can amend the Constitution again.

Let's face it, this whole DC voting scheme is an attempt to get three permanent Democrat Members into the Congress (one Congressman, two Senators). And it is couched in racial tones: the racist Republicans oppose representation because the District is 70% black.

The District hasn't been able to vote for Members of Congress since the late 1700s, and for much of that ensuing period the District's voters were majority white...yet no substantive moves were made to enfranchise them. So, let's not play the racial card.

Words have meaning. Until DC becomes a state, it should not be treated like a state.

And with regard to "no taxation without representation" I believe DC should be treated like Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans can't vote in Federal Elections, and they don't pay Federal Income Teaxes. This is how DC should be treated. I'd much rather get a tax break than be able to vote. And the special tax treatement of DC would create a financial boom for the District.

I believe the average District resident cares little about politics. The ones who do care (Norton, Fenty, Jackson, etc.) care, because they have limited upward political mobility. They lust to be Senators or real Congressmen. Fine. But they way to satisfy their lust for power is to do it correctly, by amending the Constitution.

Posted by: Bill | February 21, 2007 8:54 AM

Instead of this legal chicanery that Fisher suggests, DC should push for statehood or retrocession back into Maryland. I agree with Bill.

Posted by: rhadamanthus | February 21, 2007 9:09 AM

Why write an entire article about efforts to convince Rebulicans to grant DC a House seat, but make no mention of the fact that Republicans, led by Rep. Tom Davis, sponsered a bill that would have given DC a House seat in exchange for an additional seat being granted to Utah (which came up just short in the last census). Who was most responsible for this bill not being passed? Democrats. But including this point would not allow Fisher to put forth his mantra, that the only good Republican is one who is doing something liberal.

Posted by: Al | February 21, 2007 9:23 AM

Are two Senators per state truly appropriate these days? What's the argument for granting the people of Vermont more representation than those in California? Is the idea to preserve states' rights over federal ones? Maybe states should be redefined, for how can 600 thousand people have as many diverse issues as 36 million?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 21, 2007 9:42 AM

Al is evidently not a regular reader of this here blog. I've repeatedly and consistently hit on the Dems for their utter failure to support D.C. voting rights, and I've repeatedly pushed the Davis initiative. Here's a recent example:
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/rawfisher/2007/01/a_step_backward_for_dc_voting.html

Posted by: Fisher | February 21, 2007 9:44 AM

Instead of statehood, for voting purposes, the District should be represented by the senators of Maryland, and in the House by a new Congressional District encompassing the District. The District may retain its current separate government status (not incorporated to Maryland). In my opinion, this is a sensible and workable solution to this old problem.

Posted by: Josh Sanchez, Oak Hill, VA | February 21, 2007 9:46 AM

My wishes
1) Reciprocity tax
2) No Federal income tax unless we have representation
3) A D.C. United stadium at popular point

Posted by: 13th St. S.E. | February 21, 2007 9:48 AM

I'm inclined to agree with Bill that a Congressional vote isn't all that important to me as an individual (and I'd much rather have no federal taxes) but that's not the point. The point is that the most storied and important feature of the United States is an inclusive, republican form of government that values the participation of it's law-abiding citizens of voting age. Any practice that deviates from that is an obvious anomaly and should be corrected. One person, one vote is a simple but time-honored concept that is being denied to District residents for cynical reasons. This does not jibe in any way with the laws, ideals, or freedoms that the United States was founded on.

Posted by: Louis The Rogue | February 21, 2007 10:01 AM

I could never understand the following arguments against voting rights for DC:

- DC residents who want to vote should move out of DC. Also related, DC isn't a state. Don't people understand that DC residents are American citizens, and should have all the rights thereof?

- People who live in DC knew that they couldn't vote when they moved there. This may be true for some, but people who have lived in DC all their lives didn't make this choice. Not to mention that not everyone has the means to live outside the city. Also related to the first objection.

- Congress can't create new voting rights. Sure it can, check out Mark's column and John's comment above.

- DC residents are just greedy and want to overrun politics. Yeah, DC's one representative would make that big of a difference. It's not about wanting more; it's about wanting the same.

- Most DC residents aren't even interested in politics. This could be said the same of anywhere - look at voter turnouts across the country.

Voting rights are just that, a right. DC residents should have federal representation if we are to pay federal taxes. Put the issue before the citizens, and I can guarantee they will vote overwhelmingly for voting rights and statehood. Whatever happened to self-determination, anyway?

Posted by: Matt | February 21, 2007 10:07 AM

Fisher is apparently an incompetent reader of my post, in that I don't state that he has never cited the Davis bill, only that he didn't mention it in this post, the entire purpose of which is to show some conservatives must show the elected Republicans the error of their ways. The idiocy of his point is betrayed when it is disclosed that Republicans are not strictly against DC voting rights, as shown by Davis' bill. However, Fisher conveniently leaves this relevant fact out, a fact that he is admittedly aware of, because it does not advance his diatribe.

As to my being a frequent reader, it's interesting that you bothered to respond to this post, but not to many other questions I, and others, have posed to you on your blog. Perhaps you're not a frequent reader of your comments? For example, why did you never respond to questions concerning what the Bush administration had to do with the VA DMV's procedures for issuing a license plate? Or why didn't you respond to the many people questioning the connection between drunk driving and the laws you criticized the VA legislature for not passing? In each case, you took a position that criticized Republicans without any other logical basis for your position. Care to provide your reasoning now?

Posted by: Al | February 21, 2007 10:17 AM

And how are you going to respond now that your buddy Abe is holding up the city for $50 mil in return for giving the city a worthless arena in 2047. Now the aforementioned Popular Point project doesn't sound so bad and you can use Abe as a shining example.

Posted by: Rocko | February 21, 2007 10:23 AM

It's disheartening reading such shallowness. As a native 3rd generation Washingtonian, I've witness Americans during my life time, in other states, stand willing to kill other Americans for the right to uphold their state's rights and privileges. On the other side of the coin offer up such melee mouth arguments against Native Washingtonian in their pursuit to obtain the same right. What a pitiful state this country is in.

Posted by: Eric Alexander | February 21, 2007 10:24 AM

It's disheartening reading such shallowness. As a native 3rd generation Washingtonian, I've witness Americans during my life time, in other states, stand willing to kill other Americans for the right to uphold their state's rights and privileges. On the other side of the coin offer up such melee mouth arguments against Native Washingtonian in their pursuit to obtain the same right. What a pitiful state this country is in.

Posted by: Eric Alexander | February 21, 2007 10:24 AM

I definitely support the end goal of giving you guys voting rights. The Davis bill however well intentioned though, is unconstitutional, and I can't fault the dems for not wanting to rush a bill through that has a 98% chance of being struck down by the judiciary. The House hasn't been able to grow itself for almost a century now. And the Constitution clearly says that House representation is for states only. In addition, the lack of House/Senate representation is conspicuously absent in the 23rd Amendment which gave DC 3 electoral votes for president.

Dinh and Star make interesting arguments and indeed maybe the situation is a "historical accident." However, I don't buy the argument that past efforts to enforce federal law mean that DC can simply back into statehood. Especially in light of Article I and the 23rd Amendment.

There are only 3 options:
1) Statehood for DC (which is another can of worms I won't get into and don't really like).
2) Constitutional amendment: heavy lift--especially if you get into Senate votes.
3) Decide on a new relationship with Maryland and vote in their elections.

Posted by: booyah | February 21, 2007 10:49 AM

Al says that Republicans are not strictly against DC voting rights, but they are only in favor of it when there are conditions placed on it. Why should my right to vote depend on tit-for-tat political games? You are either for democracy for all American citizens or you are against it. I find it completely amazing that a country that prides itself on being the great example of democracy for the world treats a significant number of it's citizens as second class.

Posted by: Sam | February 21, 2007 10:50 AM

Marc

Is it your opinion and that of others that a voting representative in the House is the best or most likely to pass alternative? Why not statehood ? I realize that such a proposal would be a much steeper hill to climb, but isn't that what should really be pursued? I know that the Republicans are strongly opposed to accepting what would very likely be 2 Democratic senators and hence, passage of any statehood legislation and ratification would be difficult, but that doesn't mean it's not right. House representation still would leave DC residents as second class citizens , just less so than now. Your thoughts?

Posted by: jmsbh | February 21, 2007 10:52 AM

I respect the bulk of the posts here, but we all must be honest and not bicker about externalities and cut straight to the chase.

To put it frankly because the bulk of U.S. citizen whom reside in D.C. would more than likely vote "democrat" republicans are hesitant to pass any legislation, given the opposition party a "one up" over them.

I mean we all know it's unfair for D.C. residents to have to pay a "federal tax" but have little representation in the legislative bodies of our government.

And yes Democrats have voted against legislations for D.C. residents to have voting rights, simply on the basis that they would have to give Utah additional voting privledges.

Utah is a state, and has representation, D.C. has none, so republicans want more power for a traditionally republican held state in order to give D.C. voters rights?

If I'm wrong please clarify and help me understand, because as a D.C. resident this is my feeling towards the federal government. And it is wrong to deny us this right.

Posted by: Klassklown | February 21, 2007 11:02 AM

poplar point

Posted by: dc | February 21, 2007 11:21 AM

To Bill: I disagree with some of your arguments. To wit:

"...this whole DC voting scheme is an attempt to get three permanent (Democratic) Members into the Congress..."

This argument was made for decades against Alaska and Hawaii joining the Union, in part because Alaska's Democrats and Hawaii's Republicans were disproportionately strong. Now, each state's congressional delegation is entirely in the hands of the other party (Alaska 3 Rs, Hawaii 4 Ds). So that argument makes no sense -- a political realignment could take place and DC could have three Republicans or a combination of Ds, Rs, independents or other parties.

The overtones you're trying to disdain have always been there, and in more ways than just race: (1) In 1906, Arizona chose to remain a territory for six more years, rejecting dual statehood with New Mexico because Arizonans opposed the fact that New Mexicans spoke Spanish AND English. So language fears can play a role in statehood fights as well.

(2) Nevada became a state in 1864 with just 20,000 residents, fewer people than attend a sold-out game at Verizon Center. So the argument that DC has too few people to be a state doesn't make sense either.

And then don't get me started on Puerto Rico's status, because we've had a long history of pushing commonwealth, criminalizing independence, and quietly hoping PR doesn't choose statehood. Why? Think of the trouble some in this country would have integrating, in PR, (1) the poorest state in the union and (2) a state whose people would strongly resist efforts to impose English over Spanish.

And you offered up this gem: "Until DC becomes a state, it should not be treated like a state."

DC is already treated as a state in hundreds of ways by the federal government. So why be sacrosanct about congressional representation all of a sudden? Would it be so wrong to have an additional one to three members of Congress? Who *might* be Black?

(It doesn't rub off, I can assure you, if that's the fear.)

I cannot see why some believe it's okay to keep denying 600,000 Americans who live here or have called DC home for generations the right to participate in a republican government.

Posted by: dirrtysw | February 21, 2007 11:27 AM

To Bill(sell out):

Why is it when there is or are racial overtones, white people are quick to say "don't play the race card"...which is nothing but a phase from the OJ trial, and we all know what that did to the souls of blacks and whites in this country.

You mentioned something about back in the 1700's and now, as if there are no differences in environment and people, oh please that is definitely a big joke.

You're being slick with your words, but I am a realist and you my friend are sitting back in your newly developed overpriced condo, sipping your starbucks and reading the wall street journal making sure you're ok financially.

As I have predicted and it slowly is obvioulsy happening, DC will be mostly uppity (unattached) white folks who have no desire but to be social with themselves, which in turn will and has created disdain in the most way. DC will have a white republican mayor and then we'll see how the constitution will be interpreted.

Bill you stated having no desire to vote for....well Bill I damn sure wouldn't want you in my corner in a good fight.

Sounds like a wimp to me.

Posted by: Frankey | February 21, 2007 11:36 AM

To Bill(sell out):

Why is it when there is or are racial overtones, white people are quick to say "don't play the race card"...which is nothing but a phase from the OJ trial, and we all know what that did to the souls of blacks and whites in this country.

You mentioned something about back in the 1700's and now, as if there are no differences in environment and people, oh please that is definitely a big joke.

You're being slick with your words, but I am a realist and you my friend are sitting back in your newly developed overpriced condo, sipping your starbucks and reading the wall street journal making sure you're ok financially.

As I have predicted and it slowly is obvioulsy happening, DC will be mostly uppity (unattached) white folks who have no desire but to be social with themselves, which in turn will and has created disdain in the most way. DC will have a white republican mayor and then we'll see how the constitution will be interpreted.

Bill you stated having no desire to vote for....well Bill I damn sure wouldn't want you in my corner in a good fight.

Sounds like a wimp to me.

Posted by: Frankey | February 21, 2007 11:36 AM

Actually, Bill, DC is no longer 70% black. Not that that should be relevant. And don't assume DC will always vote Democratic. As the city gentrifies it turns more middle of the road and Republican every day. We've had Republican city council members, and quite a few ANC reps would identify themselves as Republicans. I would not be surprised at all to see a Republican mayor in the near future.

Posted by: Hillman | February 21, 2007 12:06 PM

Frankey: Your statement that recent white residents in DC are only interested in hanging out with themselves is crap. First, it's a bit racist to suggest that such behavior could possibly apply to ALL white people. Second, it's just not true. I see whites and blacks socializing in DC all the time. Literally every day.

Posted by: Hillman | February 21, 2007 12:14 PM

Considering how many of the Founding Fathers of this country fled religious persecution to this country: Why don't we correct the "mistake" they made by not specifically documenting a person's right to practice the religion of their choice ANYWHERE (including schools) in the US Constitution?

Obviously they thought nobody would be stupid enough to use the separation of church/state argument to the degree it is used now. FYI: Separation of church and state is NOT in the US Constitution. Separation is merely a ruling made by the US Supreme Court based upon a letter written by one of the founding fathers. It has no basis in law other than the court decision.

Since you are advocating "mistake" correction with DC voting rights lets fix all the mistakes in the US Constitution at the same time.

Posted by: SoMD | February 21, 2007 12:20 PM

To Hillman, another who see's the glass as half full,...it's ok though.

Besides Adams Morgan and Georgetown, name a local neighborhood bar you hang out in with other cultures?

Posted by: Frankey | February 21, 2007 12:50 PM

Georgetown was a thriving, heavily-populated port at the time DC was formed. The founders knew there would be DC residents, and plenty of them. But they wanted DC as a federal enclave, APART from the states, not another state.

Posted by: gitarre | February 21, 2007 12:55 PM

Wait a minute, hanging out in a bar doesn't represent racial harmony.

How about having dinner at each others homes or having a barbeque or simply inviting each other to watch your famous tv shows,sports etc together.

Lastly, how about a huge march together fighting for equality for "all" the people that make this city shine.

My dream...DC citizens White and Black hand in hand marching for an equal cause.

You know it's sad when a white person says "you don't expect something like this in this neighborhood"...as if it's accetable let's say...on Benning Road NE, or some place in SE to shoot and kill someone.

Anyway, we're getting off the topic.

Posted by: Frankey | February 21, 2007 1:01 PM

Frankey: As you yourself pointed out, hanging out in bars isn't really a good indicator of much. But it's worth noting that a good many bars on Capitol Hill have a very mixed crowd. And I'm not really much of a marcher, so suggesting that I have to attend some sort of march to prove my racial credibility isn't really workable. I'm simply pointing out that your suggestion that whites are only interested in themselves in DC is not fair.

Posted by: Hillman | February 21, 2007 2:42 PM

gitarre wrote "Georgetown was a thriving, heavily-populated port at the time DC was formed"

Yeah, and Alexandria was part of D.C. during that same time so give us voting rights or we take back Old Town.

Posted by: 13th St. S.E. | February 21, 2007 3:03 PM

I just quit paying taxes.
no representation, no taxation. Simple

Posted by: somebody | February 21, 2007 4:32 PM

I just quit paying taxes.
no representation, no taxation. Simple

Posted by: somebody | February 21, 2007 4:34 PM

Voting is an inalienable right. Inalienable means something like innate, inherent or intrinsic. One cannot sell it or give it away, and no one can take it away.

So it really is irrelevant whether someone would like to trade voting rights for the absence of taxation: it can't be done.

DC denizens HAVE the inalienable right to vote. It is innate, inherent, intrinsic to who they are: Citizens of the nation.

It is the OTHER citizens of the nation who must respect and recognize that inherent right, stemming from membership in the nation.

Posted by: citizenw | February 21, 2007 9:10 PM

Bill: You say "Words have meaning." I agree.

"Governments...[derive] their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

Those words meant something when the colonists spoke them to their British countrymen. They still mean something when DC denizens speak them today to their American countrymen. Have you compared the Declaratory Act of 1766 with the District Clause of 1789? Each asserted the unwarranted absolute authority (in eerily similar language, ie, "in all cases whatsoever") of the national legislature over an unrepresented minority of the national population.

Legitimate power depends on the consent of the governed. The opportunity to grant or withhold such consent (via elections) has been denied residents of the District for over 200 years. That omission undermines the legitimacy of the Congress in exercising power over the District.

Posted by: Citizenw | February 21, 2007 9:16 PM

John quoted the 16th Amendment and said This is the entire 16th Amendment and for some reason the District of Columbia is omitted yet Congress passed laws including us in the 16th Amendment. Unfortunately, that argument is wrong. Congress cannot tax DC under the 16th Amendment, but it can enact the same tax under its power under the clause giving Congress exclusive jurisdiction over the district that is seat of government.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 7:47 AM

Readers here should know that Dinh was paid for his opinion. You can read the full article on WashingtonPost.com. QUOTE Opinion Backs Davis's Effort To Grant D.C. Vote in House Constitutional Amendment Not Needed, Official Finds By Spencer S. Hsu Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, November 20, 2004; Page B01 A former senior Justice Department official in the Bush administration has concluded that a constitutional amendment is not needed to grant the District voting representation in the House. The 25-page opinion by Viet D. Dinh, a former assistant U.S. attorney general, was commissioned by Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) as part of his effort to grant the District a vote in the House.Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, called Dinh's conclusion a key development. "This legal opinion and a finding by our committee making this a statutory, as opposed to a constitutional, issue makes it much more likely for the city," Davis told interviewer Mark Plotkin yesterday on WTOP-AM radio. "I think it should lay that issue to rest." SKIP The House committee paid $25,000 for the 25-page opinion, which also was drafted by Associates and Adam H. Charnes of the law firm Kilpatrick Stockton.UNQUOTE

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 7:53 AM

Retrocession into Maryland isn't a viable option. Why would Marylanders want to have to deal with the issues facing DC (e.g. the school system) or have their votes for the Senate diluted by another 600,000 people? Besides, no one in the District thinks of themselves as a Marylander. The best option is for the District to be shrunk into a small area surrounding the Mall and to allow the rest to become a new state. It doesn't require amending the constitution and gives DC full representation in Congress.

Posted by: Nick | February 22, 2007 7:54 AM

booyah is absolutely rignt. There are only three options, statehood, retrocession with the consent of Maryland, and constitutional amendment.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 7:57 AM

citizenw has eloquently pointed out the Declaration that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Yet the new bill does not heed the consent of the governed. It does not even dignify the residents of D.C. with a referendum to decide for themselves if they want to settle for a single representative. Why not, Mr. Fisher?

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 8:05 AM

Nick is right. Although retrocession is constitutional, it is not a practical option because Maryland's consent is required, just like the consent of the Virginia legislature in 1846, and surveys show no more than 20% in favor in MD.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 8:12 AM

Yes, it is true. The District of Columbia is not a state and has no sovereign rights. However, citiziens of the District are ctizens of the United States and as such have rights to responsible representation in Congress. Congress should treat its National Capital like all other nations with federal enclaves--Ottawa, Paris, Canberra to name a few--and maintain and administer it with pride while ensuring their residents voice and a an adequate quality of life. Unfortunately, Congress insists on micro-managing the District when it suits them, then abandoning it when its expedities their proclivities and interests, leaving its residents overtaxed and orphaned.

Posted by: Marilyn | February 22, 2007 8:48 AM

Two points:

1) If anyone seriously thinks DC will ever have a Republican mayor, you are on major drugs. There is one GOP member on the city council because of the way they wrote the law creating home rule. It ensures non-D's a seat at the table. And Carol can hardly be lumped in with the Southern flavor of the GOP.

The closest we (yes, I'm a DC Republican) ever came to winning the top job was against Barry when the city was being taken over by the Feds. So if we couldn't do it against that guy, it's not going to happen.

The poor guy who ran against Fenty only received 7 percent of the vote. DC isn't NYC or LA, there isn't a snow balls chance in Hades of a Guiliani, Bloomberg or Riordan ever being Hizzoner.

2) To the person who asked about why Vermont should have the same number of Senators as California, you are a prime example of why are schools suck. Go read the early history of the Republic and you'll know why the Framers set-it up that way. It works, and it works more effectively than almost any other democracy on earth.

Lastly, I frequent bars on H Street that are a great mix of the neighborhood (black/white/deaf/hearing). Come by the Argonaut and I'll buy you a beer.

Posted by: HillRat | February 22, 2007 9:24 AM

Two points...

1. If anyone seriously thinks DC will ever have a Republican mayor, you are on major drugs. There is one GOP member on the city council because of the way they wrote the law creating home rule. It ensures non-D's a seat at the table. And Carol can hardly be lumped in with the Southern flavor of the GOP.

The closest we (yes, I'm a DC Republican) ever came to winning the top job was against Barry when the city was being taken over by the Feds. So if we couldn't do it against that guy, it's not going to happen.

The poor guy who ran against Fenty only received 7 percent of the vote. DC isn't NYC or LA, there isn't a snow balls chance in Hades of a Guiliani, Bloomberg or Riordan ever being Hizzoner.

2. To the person who asked about why Vermont should have the same number of Senators as a more populous state (like California), you are a prime example of why are schools are failing us. Go read the early history of the Republic and you'll know why the Framers set-it up that way. It works, and it works more effectively than almost any other democracy on earth.

Lastly, I frequent bars on H Street that are a great mix of the neighborhood (black/white/deaf/hearing). Come by the Argonaut and I'll buy you a beer.

Posted by: HillRat | February 22, 2007 9:26 AM

Fisher says he has repeatedly and consistently hit on the Dems for their utter failure to support D.C. voting rights. Well, let's look at the record. 1978, Democrats vote for a constitutional amendment. 1993, Democrats vote unsuccessfully in the House for statehood. 2007, Democrats rightfully realize that statehood is a futile gesture as long as REPUBLICANS have 41 votes in the Senate to filibuster, but Fisher hits on them. In the meantime, how many Republicans happened to vote for statehood back in 1993? Answer, one, Rep. Gilchrest of Maryland. From this, Fisher concludes that the Democrats are to blame.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 9:26 AM

HillRat, Go read the early history of the Republic yourself, and you'll find that the Founders allowed slavery and the fugitive slave law and refused to let blacks or women vote at all. Read some more history and find that many of those early flaws have been corrected, including outlawing the poll tax, direct election of Senators, and 18-year-old vote. Now it is time to correct the TOTAL denial of representation in the national legislature to 500,000 people. Sure CA, NY, and TX suffer because VT and Wyoming have the same number of Senators. But how in the name of anything is that a precedent for absoutely no representation at all? So, just admit you have no PRINCIPLED reason, and just want to deny them the right to vote solely because of their political beliefs.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 9:37 AM

Bill says he knew when he moved to DC that he would not be able to vote for Members of Congress. Since this argument comes up over and over, it should be addressed. At the time of the Revolution, the Founders had known when the moved to America that they would not be able to vote for Members of Parliament. They did not concede to the power of England, but asserted the priciple of the consent of the governed, in the Declaration of Independence. In the South in the 1950, black people were denied the right to vote. People argued that they chose to live there, and could move at any time, so there was no need to give them the vote. The American people, however, responded with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Constitution guarantees the right to move anywhere, any time, and the right to representation. The people who deny DC representation today would have been very comfortable denying representation to the Patriots in 1776 and to African-Americans in the South in 1950.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 9:48 AM

"Readers here should know that Dinh was paid for his opinion"

Why does that matter, who in this city gives their opinion without getting paid?? Besides the denizens of this comment section.

Posted by: 13th St Southeast | February 22, 2007 11:47 AM

To the Rat on the Hill,

It's funny you say you're a republican and live in DC but yet don't see a republican mayor in the future. Stop pretending my friend, again playing with words.

And you missed my point, just cause you go to a bar (which i frequent Argonaut), where blacks hang out, doesn't make you some kind of equal human being. I said, having dinner together in your home or inviting over on a regular as you would your white friends etc., now thats making progress.

Posted by: Frankey | February 22, 2007 11:56 AM

If you want a law to provide a single voting Rep in the House, and no Senators, just put it into a Constitutional Amendment, with a law saying Utah gets its extra Rep and Electoral Vote on the day the Amendment is ratified. If there is bipartisan support, it will sail through the States. I do not necessarily favor this, but I absolutely would want it sent to DC voters for a referendum. Proposed Amendment One Representative shall be apportioned to the district constituting the seat of government of the United States, upon approval of this Article by a referendum of its people. This solves all the constitutional issues, and the Rep would be permanent, not subject to removal by a future repeal of Davis-Norton.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 12:12 PM

13th St Southeast It does matter that Dinh was paid, because he was paid only because he agreed with Davis. No support for the bill, no pay. When it gets to the courts, it will be a different story, because they get paid either way they decide, and cannot be stffed or fired if they disagree with a Congressman. Any lawyer in this town will write an opinion supporting the bill for that money, and will write an even better opinion for less money.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 12:16 PM

Everyone should read the District clause itself again, because all it says is that Congress has power to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over such district that constitutes the seat of government. Congress surely has the power to create legislative courts [Art I]to resolve disputes between citizens of DC and the states, and since the District clause is national in power, it could create those courts all over the country. In Tidewater, three Justices of the Supreme Court let it assign those cases to the Article III courts, maybe to streamline the administration of justice. Four Justice disented. But how do you get from that kind of jurisdictional housekeeping to creating Reps for districts, territories, military base, enclaves and Guantanamo Bay? There is power for Congress to create courts, but no power to rewrite Article I to give Representatives to any areas other than States, and they have never eve done it in over 200 years. Dinh's opinion has had rough sledding among the legal blogs. He never showed up to answer questions from House Judiciary last year, but instead sent a colleague to place his two-year old opinion in the record. Go to the Committee website and read the hearing for yourself, especially testimony of Jon Turley of GW Law.

Posted by: Vince Treacy | February 22, 2007 12:25 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company