Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An unconstitutional move by Democrats

No, not the seizure of the Census from the Commerce Department, which could be construed as an unconstitutional power grab. This is about the Democrats in Congress attempting a jamdown by passing a law to give Washington, DC a representative in the House: (HT to Hugh Hewitt)

Debate opened Monday on a bill to give the 600,000 people of Washington D.C. a full vote in the House. A new Democratic president, Barack Obama, and heftier Democratic majorities in Congress have improved the prospects for the decades-long effort that would certainly ensure another Democrat lawmaker in Congress.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by some 4-to-1 in the capital.

In a bit of horsetrading to offset the Democratic pickup, the bill would award a fourth House seat to Republican-leaning Utah, which narrowly missed getting that extra seat after the 2000 national census. With the two new seats, the House would have 437 representatives.

The time is ripe, said Ilir Zherka, executive director of the advocacy group DC Vote, to end a situation where "we are the only capital of a democracy on the planet that denies voting representation in the national legislature."

While we can sympathize with Mr. Zherka, and his desire to have his voice be heard the same way people in the state do, he lives in the District of Columbia. Article I, Section 8, Clause 13 is more than specific in detailing who oversees the District:

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, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;

So to Mr. Zherka there appears to be only one option for the residents of DC to have representation in the Congress. That would be a constitutional amendment. That's the only recourse they have. The representation in the House is established through the Census, and the Congress doesn't have the authority to make itself larger. There are two ways for seats to be gained int he Congress. Either the admission of a new state, or if the Census deems that state(s) have grown in population enough to deem seats be added. Or, as I pointed out beforehand, a constitutional amendment.

So why don't the Democrats take that route? Because despite the fact they have overwhelming numbers in the House and Senate, they don't have the numbers to pass an amendment. The Congress needs to pass amendments by a two-third's majority. If it passes the Congress, then it moves onto the states, where three-fourth's of them must pass it to make it an official amendment to the Constitution. The Democrats know they don't have those votes. That might be why they're offering an olive branch to the Republicans; offering a fourth seat to Utah. Utah missed getting that seat in the 2000 Census. The horse trade is simple. Democrat-dominated DC would get a seat, and GOP-dominated Utah would get a seat. Fair, right?

No, not really. At least not to the rest of the states which would have standing to bring suit in federal court. Furthermore, the USSC would more than likely weigh in on the idea before it reaches the president's desk, should the Congress move forward on this bill. Now, if this were a proposed amendment, the high court wouldn't interject whatsoever. They'd keep silent as the amending process went forward.

The GOP needs to bring attention to this stupid and unconstitutional bill. If residents of DC want representation, then may I suggest they move to a nearby state? Maryland and Virginia are close enough for commutes, and there's the only option DC residents have. The District is not one "of the many States" that gets representation in the Congress, and the only way that'll happen is if a constitutional amendment is passed, approved, and ratified.

This has been a problem since the beginning of the 111th Congress. Since it was convened Democrats, lead by Granny Rictus and the Cryptkeeper, are emboldened to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and the Constitution be damned. Let this be a lesson to the nation that this is what happens when you let one party run the show, and you put the extreme fringe of the party play the lead in the three-ring circus.

Publius II


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