Thursday, March 15, 2007

More on D.C. Voting Rights

In yesterday's post, I complained that the proposed D.C. Voting Rights Act, which would give the District (as we locals call it) a vote in the House of Representatives, is unconstitutional. I didn't mention the main argument of those who support the bill: they rely on the "District clause" of the Constitution, which provides that Congress shall have power "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever" over the District.

This argument is just too ridiculous. Yes, Congress has a lot of power over the District--all the powers that a state government has over a state--but it still has to obey the rest of the Constitution. Congress can't ban free speech in the District. Congress can't provide cruel and unusual punishment for crimes committed in the District. Congress can't take private property without just compensation in the District. And Congress can't violate voting rights in the District -- in this case, the voting rights of everyone who lives in states, who have a right not to have their representative's votes diluted by the presence of unconstitutional votes in the House.

The pro-Bill forces have some heavy hitters vouching for these arguments, but this one is just silly. That's why I focused on the argument that the District can be treated as a state for other purposes, which at least is in the running.

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