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A couple days ago, the Senate voted 61-37 in favor of granting voting rights to the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives.
The problem with the bill is, it's blatantly unconstitutional, and shouldn't survive a Supreme Court challenge. Article One, Section Two of the Constitution says the following:
Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.
No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.
The Constitution grants House seats to STATES, and D.C. isn't a state. That's why D.C. doesn't have voting rights in Congress now.
As usual, the vote was mainly along party lines, with only two Democrats opposing the shredding of the Constitution, and six Republicans voting in favor of shredding the Constitution. The Republicans in favor were mostly the usual suspects - Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar, George Voinovich...and the Stimulus Three - Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter. Figures.
Question - Don't Senators swear to uphold the Constitution ? I'm sure I heard that somewhere. Can we kick them out when they don't ?
Beyond the Constitutional issue, there is another issue here, and it's a big one - TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. Residents of Washington D.C. pay taxes, yet they have no representation in Congress. I seem to recall taxation without representation being a pretty huge issue back around 1776. We broke away from England and founded our own country because of it, and rightly so. Everyone in our country should have voting rights.
A remedy for the people of D.C. is in order, just not THIS remedy. One course of action would be a Constitutional amendment to grant D.C. a vote in the House. Another less ideal remedy would be to exclude D.C. from paying federal taxes. A third remedy would be for D.C. to become part of the state of Maryland.
Back in 1978, the Democratic Congress approved a constitutional amendment that would have given D.C. a House representative and two Senators. That amendment failed to win support from the states.
In case any of you haven't figured it out yet, the reason this issue is arising now is - Washington D.C. voters are about 90% Democrats. The House seat, and two Senate seats if they can get them, are almost certain to go to Democrats, further consolidating the Dem majority. This bill is the first step, and Democrats aren't going to let anything as trivial as the Constitution of the United States stand in the way of more power for Democrats. Heck no. After all, the voters wanted CHANGE, didn't they ? Here it is. That's why the Democrats are rejecting all possible constitutional remedies for D.C. voting rights, and going with an unconstitutional one instead. It gives them the best chance of acquiring more power.
I can't imagine the Supreme Court upholding this bill, but maybe President Obama knows something I don't. Maybe he can get a new Supreme Court appointee or two who can "properly" interpret the Constitution. Maybe he can find a few Justices to interpret the word "state" to mean something other than "state." Maybe "state" will suddenly mean "state of being," or something. It depends what the definition of "is" is. I don't know, but I'm beginning to think the Hopenchangers are capable of anything.