Thursday, April 22, 2010

The 51st state of Columbia

Statehood for Washington, DC seems fair and just to me. And it would probably tilt the balance of power in Federal Elections in a more progressive direction.
I still don't understand why the Democrats didn't just push through DC statehood while they had the chance, during the brief period in which they had 60 votes in the Senate. Even more so, I really can't understand why no one within the Democratic coalition even bothered trying to push for DC statehood during this Congress (the Constitutionally-safe option would be the carve-out, leaving a small Federal District with the monuments and some government buildings, including the White House and Capitol, along with a small state that contained all the residences; it's a lot safer, Constitutionally, than the House-vote bill). Hey, Chris Bowers and other electorally smart lefties: why didn't you fight for statehood?
Some of his commenters recommend giving DC's land to Maryland instead, which would probably give Maryland one more (presumably Democratic) representative in the House. This might be more palatable to Republicans and others who would fear reduction of their power caused by the creation of two new Senators.


Blogger grishnash said...

Regardless of the fairness of the situation, it's not that clear-cut that wholesale D.C. statehood would be constitutional as Article I sets the Seat of Government for the U.S. inside a District ceded from other states. Now, it's not clearly UNconstitutional either, as that particular clause seems to have been written to be very flexible, but I can guarantee it would be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court and I couldn't guess which way that would go.

Retrocession, as mentioned in the other comments comes with its own weird issue. If the District of Columbia were reduced to exclude as much population as possible, that population remnant still in the District (which could be as small as the first family and White House staff) would still be guaranteed 3 electoral votes by the 23rd Amendment. Of course, I know you are no fan of the electoral college either, so maybe the Rump District could pass legislation giving its electors to the national popular vote winner.

10:27 AM, April 23, 2010  

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