From 50 to 51?

By Ethan Hay

The indispensable necessity of complete authority at the seat of government, carries its own evidence with it. It is a power exercised by every legislature of the Union, I might say of the world, by virtue of its general supremacy. Without it, not only the public authority might be insulted and its proceedings interrupted with impunity; but a dependence of the members of the general government on the State comprehending the seat of the government, for protection in the exercise of their duty, might bring on the national councils an imputation of awe or influence, equally dishonorable to the government and dissatisfactory to the other members of the Confederacy.- Federalist 43, James Madison (1)

A brief history of the organization and founding Washington DC is in order. The Residence Act of 1790 established a permanent seat of government for the United States. It also decreed that the government functions would be conducted in the established and temporary capital city of Philadelphia until 1800. As well as how the city was to be managed, by a mayor that was appointed by the President, and the affairs of the district were to be managed by the US Legislature. (2) The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 actually laid out design of the seat of government. Territory from the states of Virgina and Maryland were given to create the federal district. (3) The District of Columbia Organic act of 1871 eliminated the individual cities of Georgetown and Washington, establishing a single unified government, and established a legislative body for DC. (4) In 1973, the District of Columbia Self Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, more commonly known as the Home rule was passed. This act essentially allowed for greater local control of the city, such as allowing for the election of mayor, and the establishment of the council of the District of Columbia. However, every law that is passed by the council still is subject to Congressional approval, and it still doesn’t allow for certain types of liberties that are afforded to states. (5)

Despite the fact that the Constitution specifically calls out for the capital city not to be a state, there has been a growing call for Washington DC to become the 51st state. In 1993 the debate was brought to, but it ultimately failed on the house floor by a vote of 153-277. (6) Despite suffering a defeat the call for statehood has not been cooled. For example, in 2016 there was a referendum called by the current mayor, Muriel Bowser, regarding that issue. It was supported overwhelmingly, over 80% voting yes. (7) And on the 22nd of April, there was a vote that was held in congress regarding DC statehood. The bill was brought to the House floor by DC’s nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, (8) and it was passed along party lines, 216-208. (9)

The issues that have been used to argue in support of this resolution are:

  • The right to govern- allowing citizens to determine how they are governed, like how it is done in the states. (10)
  • Voting Representation- they have two non-voting shadow senators, and a non-voting delegate in the House. But they do have the right to the right to participate in legislative procedures, and debates. (11) It also can participate in presidential elections. Thanks to the 23rd Amendment. (12)
  • Taxation- they are subject to all US federal taxes.
  • Human rights- due to their representatives not being allowed to vote, the UN Human Rights Council since 2006 has cited the US for human rights violations. (13)
  • The January 6th Riot- This is a fairly new argument, but it is one that is being taken advantage of by the primarily left leaning supporters of statehood across the nation. They believe that if DC had been a state, then there would have been National Guard present at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally that what happened could have been prevented. However, the ability to use the National Guard is preserved for the states, and DC still is not one. (14) They conveniently leave out the fact that President Trump had recommended added security but had been turned down by the Mayor of DC due to optics. (15)

Aside from the blatant unconstitutionality of the push for statehood, the arguments against are fewer, but more succinct. James Madison in Federalist paper 43, argued against granting statehood to the seat of government, due to the fact that the federal government would then be subjected to that state’s laws. (16) The other is that that if DC were to become a state, then all federal buildings, which are managed by the executive branch, would give the president himself three electoral votes. Furthermore the 23rd Amendment would have to be repealed in order for statehood to be achieved, which in this current political climate would be very unlikely. (17) Furthermore, it is political suicide for Democrats representing historically red states, like Montana,

But who are we kidding, this is a blatant power grab by radical Democrats who are seemingly hellbent on destroying and dividing the country more than they have already done. They are already saying that anyone who opposes DC statehood is a racist, and idiotic. (18) It has nothing to do with the fact that Americans are tired of the abuses of power by Democrats, and the utter cowardice of the Republican lawmakers to do anything to stand against tyranny. But we the people are beginning to wake up, and we are not going to stand idly by and watch as our country is destroyed by corrupt politicians, and activists.

 

Sources:

  1. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed43.asp
  2. https://www2.gwu.edu/~ffcp/exhibit/p12/p12_1text.html
  3. https://www.nikolasschiller.com/blog/index.php/archives/2009/01/29/2213/
  4. https://www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/41st-congress/session-3/c41s3ch62.pdf
  5. https://www.congress.gov/bill/93rd-congress/house-bill/10231
  6. https://www.congress.gov/bill/103rd-congress/house-bill/51/all-actions?overview=closed&q=%7B%22roll-call-vote%22%3A%22all%22%7D
  7. https://wamu.org/story/16/11/09/dc_votes_overwhelmingly_for_statehood_referendum_future_remains_uncertain/
  8. https://norton.house.gov
  9. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/51
  10. https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-rights-of-the-people-to-rule-2/
  11. https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/02/03/washington-dc-shadow-politics/
  12. https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/amendment/amendment-xxiii
  13. https://norton.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/norton-says-latest-un-human-rights-committee-criticism-of-us-treaty
  14. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/12406
  15. https://www.npr.org/2021/01/11/955548910/ex-capitol-police-chief-rebuffs-claims-national-guard-was-never-called-during-ri
  16. https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed43.asp
  17. https://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/practical-and-legal-problems-with-dc-statehood
  18. https://www.npr.org/2021/04/24/990544576/how-the-battle-against-d-c-statehood-is-rooted-in-racism