- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The Government of the United States.” Unfair? Tell it to the Founders.

Last Tuesday, the first day of the 111th Congress, the normally level-headed Barack Obama 34.7 percent), gets another House member in exchange for one for D.C., which will be Democratic for at least the next millennium (2008 vote: Mr. Obama 92.9 percent, Mr. McCain 6.5 percent). This is not democracy in action; it’s horse-trading. And it goes around the Constitution. If Congress claims the power to determine who can and cannot vote, voters could be enfranchised or disenfranchised whenever Congress changes hands.

If the District is to have representation, whether in the House or Senate, or both, the route is amendment to the Constitution. That is just what happened in 1961 with ratification of the 23rd Amendment permitting D.C. electors for President and Vice President. It’s just what ultimately didn’t happen when the D.C. Voting Rights Amendment that Congress passed in 1978 expired in 1985 for lack of ratification by the states.

There are two other options for District residents who complain, as their smarmy “Taxation Without Representation” license plate does (not entirely correctly, given the taxation by the City Council), that they are deprived. The first option is to simply move a few miles to White House and Capitol would remain the District of Columbia.

Democrats should respect the constitutional process, and of course Republicans should also. Members of either party playing footsy with this scheme should be ashamed. With each party gaining one sure seat, it may be a no-difference game in terms of party power, but it’s still an illicit game.

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