Voting Rights for the District of Columbia

I fully support the proposition that the District of Columbia should have a voting member or members in the House of Representatives. I also believe that they should have voting representation in the Senate. However, I do believe that the legislation currently in the Senate is unconstitutional. I don’t really want to wade into that debate, for that I will point to Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley.

Instead, I want to point out some posts by fellow progressives that suggest that arguing against the legislation on the basis of constitutionality is somehow improper. Consider this post on the front page of Daily Kos and this one from Firedoglake.

There may be any number of reasons why people oppose representation for D.C., some of them overtly political (the seats will be Democratic), others racist (so many black people). However, it is entirely possible for people of good conscience to oppose this legislation on constitutional grounds, and it would behoove people to be careful ascribing either racism or politics to their motives. Circumventing the Constitution for a good reason – like this – is no better than circumventing the Constitution for another reason.

Finally, if this seat is granted by simple legislation, rather than by an amendment, what is preventing the next Republican Congress from simply stripping the seat from D.C? The dubious constitutionality will only give them cover to do so. Far better to do this permanently and above reproach.


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