Is it 9/10ths of a vote yet?

Recently, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth voted to dilute her vote in congress by voting to allow representatives of Guam and the Virgin Islands a vote in congress.

Now, the Democrats are trying to give the DC delegates a vote? H.R. 1433 is "To provide for the treatment of the District of Columbia as a Congressional district for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives, and for other purposes."

Apparently, you don't have to be a state to be represented anymore. You just have to have a lot of Democratic voters.

Monitor it here, and see if our congresswoman is going to dilute South Dakota's voice even further.


Anonymous said…
In my opinion, this DC bill is on pretty shaky constitutional ground. The US Constitution says that house members "shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States." DC is clearly not a state - therefore, Congress cannot by statute extend to them a Congressional district.

They claim that the provision that gives Congress the power to pass legislation affeting DC empowers them to pass this legislation as it does, in fact, affect DC. But it seems pretty questionable to use the DC clause to pass legislation that completely contradicts a constitutional provision so basic to the structure. Could Congress pass a law banning free exercise of religion in DC, ignoring the First Amendment? I think not.
Anonymous said…
Why should the people of DC not have a vote in Congress? Let's hear someone explain why everybody else in the US deserves a vote but DC residents do not.
Anonymous said…
8:27 - Very good question. I bet you don't get an answer from anybody on this blog.
Mick said…
You want a reason? How about "it's the law of the land." As 8:14 noted, the Constitution is pretty clear on the matter.

The law of the land may not be fair. If that is the case, then amend the Constitution. Until we do that, though, we have to follow the law, even if that means it will cost the Dems a few votes in the House.

It stinks when we let principles get in the way of politics, huh?
Anonymous said…
At least we can all agree it is not fair.
Anonymous said…
How dare Herseth oppose taxation without representation! She is clearly un-American...

Not to question anonymous' constitutional law credentials, but some pretty prominent Republicans disagree. Ken Starr, former Solicitor General and Independent Counsel disagrees completely.

"First, interpretation of Congress's Article I legislative authority should always be guided
by the fundamental principles upon which the nation and the Constitution were founded.
Those principles include a commitment to a republican form of government and to the
proposition that the laws enacted by the legislature should be based on the consent of the
governed. There is nothing in our Constitution's history or its fundamental principles
suggesting that the Framers intended to deny the precious right to vote to those who live
in the capital of the great democracy they founded.

Second, Congress's specific power over the District of Columbia is one of the broadest of
all its powers. In the words of the Constitution, "Congress shall have power . . . to
exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" over the District."

You may not like the make up of the DC electorate, but to say that it's "American" to support taxation without representation, isn't right...
Anonymous said…
If DC was filled with a bunch of white republicans congress would have taken care of this a long time ago.
Anonymous said…
sometimes doing the right thing makes sense, even if it doesn't benefit your political party.

i'm a republican, but it is flat out wrong that there are people who are forced to pay federal taxes but do not have a vote in congress.

i doubt steffi is motivated by standing up for taxpayer rights here, but we shouldnt attack her on this just because shes a democrat.

if people in dc didnt pay federal income taxes (like puerto rico) it be one thing. but they do. and they deserve to have a vote in congress.
Anonymous said…
Mick --

You assert that it is "the law of the land," and cite anon 8:14am as the definitive source that granting the DC delegate a vote in Congress is unconstitutional.

Ken Star, former Independent Counsel and Solicitor General of the United States (the government's top constitutional lawyer)

Viet Dinh, former Deputy Attorney General under George W Bush, Chief Architect of the Patriot Act.

I don't know who is right, but to cite "anonymouse 8:14am" and claim that he/she is the definitive source for an undecided constitutional question is a bit of a stretch.
Anonymous said…
Anon 8:14am/Mick:

The 16th Amendment states:

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

Residents of the District of Columbia are required to pay income taxes. Is that unconstitutional as well?
Anonymous said…
Kind of interesting that Pat only points out that there will be a new (in all likelihood Democratic) representative in Washington DC but leaves out the other part of the bill where it adds a second delegate to the house. This Delegate would go to rural Utah and almost certainly be Republican. No change in the overall makeup of the house, no change to the balance of power. Congresswoman Herseth will go from being 1/435th of the House to 1/437th…not exactly a huge change. She will also be righting the historic wrong of 572,000 Americans who have been denied the representation.
Anonymous said…
Good point - South Dakota goes from wielding from 0.22989% of the voting power in Congress to 0.22883%. It's a difference of 0.00106%, not exactly the 10% PP suggests in the title of this post.

The real irony here is that Pat is complaining that we're losing 0.00106% of our voting power in Congress, while taxpayers in DC have no vote in Congress.
Anonymous said…
Anon 8:14 simply quotes the Constitution. How bold of him/her to think that the words written there mean what they say! Read the clause after the clause 8:14 quoted in Article I, Section 2:

"No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen."

How exactly can a D.C. resident qualify? The Rep would not be an inhabitant of the state from which s/he is chosen.

To say that "interpretation of Congress's Article I legislative authority should always be guided by the fundamental principles upon which the nation and the Constitution were founded" and thereby take the most basic requirements of House membership and read them out of the Constitution seems ironic to me. Seems like our Constitution was written so that the government can't change the basic rules as it goes along.
Anonymous said…
Sorry - messed up the link
Article I, Section 2
Anonymous said…
If Stephanie and crew are so worried about DC's representation, why aren't they proposing statehood? Then DC could have 2 senators as well and be fully represented. I assume the answer is that there is no corresponding Republican state to offset admitting DC. Any other reasons?
Anonymous said…
Just so you are aware, they do have 3 electoral votes. For those of you who are counting, there are 100 senators, 535 representatives and 3 electoral votes for the district of coloumbia. And, those three were given to them in a good liberal time in our history... sorry, nance, we're not there in 2007.
Anonymous said…
As SD native now living in DC, I agree that DC should not be granted a vote without ammending the Constitution. Just because it would be more "fair" in someone's mind, it doesn't mean it's constitutional. Having said that, if a proposed ammendment came to a vote, and I had a vote (which, ironically, as a DC citizen I wouldn't) I would vote for it. I do agree though that by voting for it, Herseth is putting party above state.
Anonymous said…
Also (2:10) see the article today at which discusses the idea in detail.
Anonymous said…
1:52, you are a little off. There are 100 senators and 435 representatives.
Anonymous said…
You who don't concur are wanting some people to be more "equal" than others. That's typical of the Republican conservative mindset, and anti American, IMHO.
Anonymous said…
What about Guam and the Virgin Islands, shouldn't we be more upset about them getting a vote? Are they full US citizens, do they pay taxes? Also, I'm curious if anyone in DC really pays taxes.
Anonymous said…
We can solve all this today. Simply give DC back to Maryland.
Anonymous said…
This is representation without taxation! These territories do not pay income taxes!
Anonymous said…
Does D.C. have it's own constitution, like states have? There is a city government, correct? What powers does it have, and where does it derive its authority?

I confess I know very little about how the government in the district works. Can anyone shed light on that?
Anonymous said…
I am anon 8:14, the first poster on this string. Let me make this clear - I agree 100% that DC should, in some way, be given a seat in Congress. It is obviously unfair that they currently do not get representation. But we cannot just ignore the Constitution to get there, and at least in my opinion, the Constitution is pretty clear. I know there are legal scholars who disagree - I just think that a plain reading of the text, as well as the obvious intent behind those words, demonstrates that they are wrong.
Anonymous said…
And I should add - giving DC back to Maryland would make the most sense of all. This would also allow people to live within a normal state government, rather than the weird, federally-admistered city government. I would support legislation to reduce DC to only include the immediate area around the White House and Capital (The National Mall) area, and to return the rest to Maryland. This could clearly be done - DC used to extend into Virginia and nclude the area that now includes the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetary - and that was returned to Virginia.
Anonymous said…
what does it matter how herseth votes? she will not give anyone a straight answer about motivation. She is a flaming liberal and will vote like one. that is all you need to know.

Bruce -
a_big_liberal said…
I think you're right, 2:10. The constitution needs to be amended in order to make DC's spot more legitimate.

That being said, DC still needs a voice. They pay taxes, and they should have representation to decide how those taxes are spent.

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