Disenfranchised in the District

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4 Responses

  1. Brett Bellmore says:

    Well, excuse me if you don’t like the truth. It’s not like it’s illegal to commute six miles instead of five, or D.C. abruptly was stripped of representation after you moved there. You traded your right to vote for a shorter commute.

    And I find it interesting where you place the blame for Congressional Democrats refusing you give you representation if it meant they could no longer deny you exercise of a basic civil liberty. Shows you value denying your neighbors that liberty more than voting. Interesting priorities; Denying your neighbors 2nd amendment rights, a short commute, yes. Voting rights, no.

    It’s hard to take somebody seriously as a civil libertarian when they’re treating the Bill of Rights like an ala carte menu.

    In any event, there’s a serious argument against the seat of the federal government being represented in Congress: Basically that it’s too much of a thumb on the scale to have one or more seats in Congress that automatically vote for more power/money for the federal government, because the federal government is their only industry.

    It’s an argument which prevailed when the Constitution was written, it’s an argument which prevailed when your amendment went down in flames. After only 16 states ratified, I think it’s fair to say that politicians have better things to do than beat a dead horse.

  2. JoeJP says:

    The issue is not just one person. It is the voting rights of hundreds of thousands in the district. Many who don’t have as much freedom of opportunity simply to move away.

    The ‘truth’ also is that it is a matter of much debate if the law the NRA (etc.) wanted here matched what the 2A requires. Respect for neighbors might entail letting them decide that voting rights for all should be ruled upon independently of some other issue.

    The seat of government used to be in NYC and then Philadelphia. It was some time before the capital district had a sizable population without voting rights in this sense.

    Particularly if we are only talking about a voting member in the House, how ONE member of 435 puts much of a “thumb” on the scales is unclear. There already is a non-voting member who is not w/o influence in hearings and so forth. I personally think it wrong to have two senators there. The idea Wyoming has equal status in the Senate is problem enough. But, a vote in the House would make sense.

    The issue of representation has clear racial and political implications, one reason other than inertia that many opposed it. The 23A was a compromise in the days when racist opposition to empowering blacks was much more prevalent. It would have made more sense to not be so conservative and just include a voting representative and instead of a fixed number of electoral votes, set it by the census, some minimum remaining. A third component touching upon home rule also might be useful.

  3. JoeJP says:

    BTW, I agree with those who think simply giving D.C. a voting member by statute is not authorized by the Constitution. The fact that Sen. Hatch (R) wished to do so underlines the error has a bipartisan flavor.

  4. Robert Percival says:

    Thanks for the responses. A couple of replies:

    “It’s too much of a thumb on the scale to have one or more seats in Congress that automatically vote for more power/money for the federal government” – while I don’t agree that this is necessarily what my fellow D.C. residents favor (after all, we have been more trampled upon by the feds than anyone else), it’s rather stunning to hear that voting rights should be allocated on the basis of how one thinks that people will vote.

    As for dismissing the argument as “beating a dead horse,” I guess the anti-slavery and civil rights movements should have given up campaigning against the injustices they attacked because they had been settled law for so long.