An End Game for D.C. Representation in Congress
Richard Hasen makes an intriguing argument over at Slate. Congress should approve legislation to give Washington, D.C. congressional representation, even though it's probably ...
Richard Hasen makes an intriguing argument over at Slate. Congress should approve legislation to give Washington, D.C. congressional representation, even though it's probably unconstitutional:If the current D.C. voting rights law is indeed unconstitutional, then the only way to get D.C. a full House member is the way that gave district residents the right to vote for president: a constitutional amendment that would either make D.C. a state, give it a member of Congress (and possibly two senators) without making it a state, or merge D.C. back into a neighboring state, such as Maryland. But constitutional amendments are extremely difficult to pass, requiring a vote of two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states. With a country preoccupied by the most serious economic troubles of our lifetimes and two wars, voting rights for D.C. is not at the top of the list. Despite broad public support for some form of voting rights for D.C., the forces of inertia are strong.
This is precisely why Congress should pass the current law, even if it is likely to be struck down by the Supreme Court. Rejection by the court would put the issue on the front burner. Obama could then push for quick passage of a constitutional amendment in Congress and the states. He could remind people that many of our most important advances to voting rights have come through constitutional amendment, including enfranchisement of African-Americans, women, 18-year-olds, D.C. residents (in presidential elections), and those too poor to pay a poll tax to vote in federal elections.
Regardless of what you think of D.C. voting rights, I think we can agree on one thing: The scenario that Hasen envisions, where each state legislature is asked to weigh in on a constitutional amendment on congressional representation for the District, would be great fun.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Important Questions Yet to Be Answered in Deadly Hoboken Crash5 hours ago
El Cajon Shooting Reignites Debate Over How Police Deal With the Mentally Ill5 hours ago
UnitedHealth and University of California Forge Unique Alliance5 hours ago
Pennsylvania's Special Protections for Drilling Industry Invalidated in Court5 hours ago
California Promises to Make Voting a Lot More Convenient5 hours ago
School Choice Funding Method Rejected by Nevada Supreme Court5 hours ago