District of Columbia-Maryland Disunion

a new DC

Okay, what the hell is this “District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act“? Some crazy way to give us Congressional voting representation through congressional authority by returning us back to Maryland? And why is Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights saying this to the House of Representatives:

As the committee is aware, the area west of the Potomac ceded to the Federal Government by Commonwealth of Virginia was returned to Virginia in 1846. The leadership conference agrees with the premise of H.R. 381, that defining a national capital service area that would be retained by the Federal Government as the District of Columbia, all Constitutional requirements for the District would be satisfied, leaving Congress free to return the remainder of Washington to the State of Maryland.

Is he trying to sell us back to Maryland? Did he ask my option or yours? Or better yet, did he ask Maryland? Guess not:

Unfortunately, there is no indication at this time that the State of Maryland or its citizens would accept the return of the District, not that I would propose it, as a District resident.

Don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be part of Maryland or Virginia. I want representation for DC as a District resident.

Or we can always be like Puerto Rico, no vote yet no Federal income tax, and everyone’s happy.

3 Comments so far

  1. Mike (unregistered) on April 20th, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

    D.C. residents absolutely deserve a vote in Congress.

    FEDERAL TAXES: Like the rest of Americans, and unlike other territories like Guam, D.C. residents pay FEDERAL taxes. They actually pay the highest amount in taxes per capita in the nation. Can you imagine paying federal taxes, but having no vote on how your tax dollars are spent???

    SOLDIERS IN WAR: Like the rest of Americans, and unlike other territories, D.C. residents have also fought and died in every American war stretching back to the War of 1812. Currently, they have no vote on whether or not their residents get sent to war. Think of screwed up that is alone.

    DEMOCRACY: D.C. is the only capital of a democracy IN THE WORLD that is not allowed a vote in their national legislature. Even the people living in Baghdad can vote for a federal representative. In this case, Iraqis have more democracy than America.

    CONSTITUTIONAL: The Constitution gives the Congress the power to do whatever it wants with the District. It’s called the “District Clause,” Article 1, Section 8: “To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District.” In 1800, Congress took away voting rights from D.C. using that power. That same power gives them the right to give it back. Conservative thinkers like Kenneth Starr (Clinton impeachment) and Viet Dihn (author of the Patriot Act) have come to the same conclusion. It is fair and will stand. A Constitutional amendment is unnecessary.

    NO NET GAIN: Since Utah will also get an extra vote in Congress, there is no net gain for either party. This follows the tradition of introducing states like traditionally Democratic Hawaii and traditionally Republican Alaska at the same time.

    FOREIGN POLICY: D.C.’s denial of voting representation has actually impacted America’s ability to carry out foreign policy. Rogue nations with poor human rights records argue that America cannot claim total innocence as they deny voting rights to the residents of their nation’s capital city. This has been an effective tool for countries with horrible records to continue their abuses.

    I realize that it is a lot to swallow. But truly, it is time to give the residents of America’s capital the right to vote in Congress.


  2. Mike2 (unregistered) on April 20th, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

    I agree DC should get a vote (actually voteS) in Congress. But I can’t resist nit-picking and playing devil’s advocate.

    “Residents of D.C. deserve a vote” – It’s not a question of “deserving” it. That implies there’s something to be done, or some standard to be met, in order to have representation. In other words, that it’s a privilege to be earned. But representation is a right, not a privilege. You don’t have to “deserve” free speech or freedom of religion; everyone just has it — period.

    Soldiers in war – A valid point that DC has no vote on whether there’s a war, yet still supplies soldiers. However, the bill recently approved by the House does not entirely fix this. It gives DC one vote in the House, but none in the Senate. Also, the Senate alone confirms appointments and approves treaties, so DC still gets no voice at all in that.

    No Net Gain – See above. The brokered Utah+DC balance is in the House. There’s still no vote for DC in the Senate, and there’s no way to add a “balancing” Republican vote there except by creating a new state. (Guam, maybe?)

    Foreign policy – Do you have any specific examples? I doubt most people in other countries are even aware of DC’s status. After all, most U.S. residents aren’t! I think that Gitmo, torture, violations of the Geneva Accords, violations of other international laws, aggressive and controversial foreign policy (to put it mildly), abolition of habeas corpus and other violations our own constitution, etc., etc., etc. do a LOT more to lose us the moral high ground. DC’s status probably goes pretty much unnoticed amongst all that.

    The Constitution – Remember that? The founding, organic definer of what our country is? Despite Bush’s lack of respect for the Bill of Rights, we still have to obey it. And it says that ONLY STATES GET A VOTE. DC is not a state, therefore the courts are just going to overturn any legislation giving it a vote. DC needs to either (a) be made a state; (b) merged back into Maryland; or (c) there needs to be a Constitutional amendment to make it an exception to the rule. THOSE ARE THE ONLY 3 OPTIONS. DEAL WITH IT! The bill currently before Congress is a lot of grandstanding, and will accomplish nothing. (Except maybe give the Republicans an extra vote in Utah!)


  3. Ben (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 3:30 pm

    “THOSE ARE THE ONLY 3 OPTIONS. DEAL WITH IT!”

    First of all, calm down.

    Second of all, treating D.C. as a state wouldn’t be anything new for the federal government. The Constitution also provides that a federal tax on income shall be imposed on the citizens of “the several states”, and guess what? D.C. citizens pay income tax, despite the lack of a Constitutional amendment providing for such a thing. Using this precedent, it’s not necessary to pursue an amendment to the Constitution in order to grant D.C. residents voting rights in Congress.

    Additionally, why is a “net gain” even a concern? It’s ridiculous to think that to give voting rights to a largely Democratic population you must also give an equal number of votes to a Republican-leaning population. I’m quite certain the founding fathers cared not a whit for the political leanings of the citizenry when establishing the right to voting representation. “Net gain” is an argument that shouldn’t even be addressed when discussing D.C. voting rights.



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