Friday, March 20, 2009

Wasted Energy

D.C. voting rights are progressing on the Hill, but with the unfortunate addition (in the Senate) of provisions voiding the city's gun control laws. Whether you like guns or hate them, the District's gun laws should be made by its elected representatives, not by our non-representative congressional overlords.

Unfortunately, D.C. is salivating so badly for a vote in Congress that our Mayor has actually said that he'd take the gun part if that's what's needed to get the vote.

Doesn't anybody understand that this is all wasted effort? The D.C. Voting Rights Act is patenly, blatantly, utterly unconstitutional. All that's going to happen is that its passage will lead to a 1-2 year court battle, following which it will be overturned unanimously in the Supreme Court. And then the energy necessary to get somewhere on D.C. voting rights will have been expended. Congress will have changed by then -- who knows who'll be in control. It'll be a decade before anything happens on this issue again.

This is our best chance to do something about D.C. voting rights, and we're expending the energy on a bill that won't change a thing because it's unconstitutional. We should seize this chance to do something effective.


JMS said...

Question: Who would have standing to challenge the constitutionality of this proposed bill? A fellow Congressman maybe - but that seems unlikely given political realities. And if it's just a member of another state (say PA), would the injury be so abstract as to fall under the prohibition against generalized taxpayer grievances?

Jon Siegel said...

Good question -- I would say anyone from a state would have standing. People have standing to challenge apportionment within a state if they live in a district that has a higher population than another district. This would be similar.