The Washington Post reports today that D.C. voting rights are once again being considered in Congress. Unfortunately, Democrats are trying to make this change the wrong way--that is, by enacting a law which can just as easily be repealed at any time instead of amending the Constitution.
A year ago, the Senate passed a D.C. voting rights bill for the first time since 1978, but lawmakers attached language that would wipe out most local gun laws and restrict the D.C. Council's power to enact new ones. House leaders shelved the legislation when it became clear that it would be difficult to block the gun amendment.The Washington Post cites a poll showing overwhelming public support for this measure across the nation, so it is a mystery why Democrats cannot simply take the time to submit a constitutional amendment for the approval of the states.
Under the measure, the House would add two members: one to the overwhelmingly Democratic District and the other, temporarily, to Republican-leaning Utah. That seat would then go to the state next in line for a representative based on the 2010 Census.
Nathaniel Ward of the Heritage institute, and also a lifelong D.C. resident, has a much more in-depth analysis of why the Democrats' current approach is a bad idea, but the bottom line is that if Congress can give D.C. voting rights through a simple act of law, it can also take them away--something which the founders clearly would have opposed.
Lawmakers need to reconsider their proposal to grant the District of Columbia representation in Congress by legislation. The plan runs afoul of a commonsense understanding of the Constitution, the intentions of the Founders, and more than two centuries of interpretation by legislators and the courts. If they seek to allow congressional representation for District residents, they should instead examine proposals that do justice to principles of republican governance and the Constitution.