It's a Case of D*mn the Constitution ... We'll Do What We Want to Do!
As far as “taxation without representation” goes - giving this territory back to Maryland and to Virginia would settle the issue. This too maybe unconstitutional.
In 1978, Congress passed a constitutional amendment which would have given DC congressional representation, and sent it to the states for ratification. Not nearly enough states ratified it, so that amendment died. In 1978, the Democrats of the day understood that it would take a constitutional amendment to accomplish this, because DC is not a state. So, what's up now?
Democrats in 2009 have decided that a regular statute law is all that they need. The legal status of DC has not changed from 1978 to now. If this needed a constitutional amendment then, it still needs one now. This action is also unconstitutional.
Article 1 Section 2 of the United States Constitution - 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.
Article 4 Section 3 of the United States Constitution - New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The "District Clause" in Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution states: "The Congress shall have Power To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States."
A STATE! The District of Columbia is not a STATE. Can not be a STATE under the wording of the Constitution. The District of Columbia is a federal territory ultimately under the complete authority of Congress ... who created a city government to do that job for them and at the same time Congress retained the right to review and overturn laws passed by the city council and to intervene in local affairs.
The Twenty-third Amendment in 1961, granted the District three votes in the Electoral College.
Congress has never given up power of the District of Columbia not has any Statehood Initiative been recognized or Statehood granted through the Constitutional process.
Amendment is the only route ... but Congress knows that that is 'dead in the water'. It's already failed ... so our elected officials, the eletists in DC, try an end run around the Constitution.
Amendment is the better route
March 14, 2009 | Editorial
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Washington, D.C., apparently is the exception. Or maybe it isn't, if the thing worth doing is dismantling the Constitution. With Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman leading the way, Congress was poised this month to cut a deal that essentially renders the Constitution irrelevant; an inconvenience easily swatted aside. But the deal fell through after Senate Republicans inserted an amendment that would ensure Washingtonians' Second Amendment right to own firearms, and it seemed unlikely anti-gun House Democrats had enough votes to ax it. But the amendment's effect promises to be temporary at best, and the unconstitutional voting-rights proposal will be back.
In exchange for giving the District of Columbia a full voting member, who assuredly would be a Democrat, Congress would give staunchly Republican Utah an additional congressional district. One doesn't need to read far into the Constitution to discover this bit of political horse-trading is verboten.
Article 1, Section 2, says: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States ..." (our emphasis). That's states, not districts, city-states or communes. The District of Columbia is not a state. End of discussion.
Defenders of the bill point out the Constitution also empowers Congress to "exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District ... as may ... become the Seat of Government ..." But that passage in no way supersedes Section 2. The one outlines what the House is; the other, what the House and Senate do.
The taxation-without-representation argument tossed around by supporters of de facto statehood for the district is not without merit. What's more, the District of Columbia arguably is the most dysfunctional unit of government in the United States, with some of the worst public schools, crime and poverty rates, and municipal corruption. Its status quo borders on indefensible.
So why not push for a constitutional amendment?
The authors simply would have to make sure the congressional-representation loophole applies just to the district and excludes Puerto Rico, Guam and the other four U.S. territories that might feel empowered to seek congressional seats if the bill now under consideration becomes law.
From George Washington's Farewell Address: "It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield."