Thursday, February 26, 2009

Constitutionalism or Political Expediency?

Steve Chapman's latest article is about the movement to get Washington D.C. congressional representation. He's against it, or at least he's against it without modifying the Constitution.
Tell it to the sponsors of a bill to give the District of Columbia a full-fledged member of the House of Representatives. They resolutely dismiss the hurdle presented by the Constitution, which says, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states." Not "states and any other entities under federal control," but states, period.

The District is a unique enclave, set apart by the founders as the seat of national government. But for this purpose, the advocates assert, it is functionally no different from Maine or Montana.
The hurdle he faces is arguing that the citizens of Washington D.C. are somehow less deserving of representation than the citizens of Maine or Montana. Which is a pretty high hurdle. He does reference a Constitutional scholar who argues that to the framers being near Congress was all the representation they needed. I'm not sure that argument holds up.

What is unstated is that Washington D.C. would likely lean pretty liberal. Many capitals do; it's hard to be receptive to an argument that Government is the Problem when you work for the Government. So I wouldn't expect Republicans to champion full citizenship for the residents of Washington D.C.

1 comment:

Random Goblin said...

It doesn't "lean pretty liberal." DC itself is overwhelmingly Democrat. It's also overwhelmingly black.