Friday Miscellany...

This whole voting rights thing has made me so angry that I can barely contain myself. Never mind that we are fighting for legislation that will still leave us short of full representation, but the way that the Republicans derailed the bill only highlights why it is so necessary. The fact that people who we didn't vote for can change our gun laws proves why we need someone on the Hill that represents us.

I am pretty sure that I am going to take off of work to participate in this, and you should too.

I really like DCist's answer to Representative Charles Boustany. I am still figuring out what issue I want to bring up with my new Representative. I wish that we could go farther. I am envisioning a day when all DC residents don't work. I would imagine there are enough residents working on the Hill, as Waiters, Cab Drivers, Metro Operators, Security Guards, etc. to make life markedly more difficult for the congressmen who domineer over us.

In related news, D.C.'s own These United States are the Thursday session over at Daytrotter and you should go give a listen. It seems to me that D.C. is starting to develop a pretty good, non-Dischord, music scene. It is nice to see.

Finally, due to Catherine's prodding, and boredom at work, I now have a Facebook profile. You should go over an be my friend. Full disclosure, I mainly plan on using it to harass people to come to my concerts.

UPDATE: Apparently it was Congressman Louie Gohmert that brilliantly opined:

"I would submit to you that Washington, D.C. is also the only city in the entire country that every Senator and every Member of Congress has a vested interest in seeing that it works properly, that water works, sewer works, and no other city in America has that."
I for one have noticed a fair number of potholes around that I am sure that Louie wants to hear about.

Also, I forgot to add that Matt is not welcome in my apartment if he is packing.


  1. I'm fine with DC getting voting representatives, but doesn't this require a Constitutional amendment? For instance, the Constitution says "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature." It seems to me that the people of the several states does not include DC citizens, because DC is not a state.

    It might not seem a bad idea to overlook the language in this one instance, but then similar logic would allow legislation to grant DC two senators (which I would not support).


  2. I am not a constitutional expert, or legal expert, (or really any kind of expert) but from what I have read, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution, the District Clause, might give Congress the authority to pass this legislation. That said, I would prefer and amendment or statehood.

    Why do you support a Representative in the House, but oppose two senators by the way?

  3. Well, I wouldn't describe myself as a constitutional expert, but I know something about it, and we can do a lot just by looking at the plain language. So here is Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17. Congress has the power "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings". I think that's really getting at the Federal government's power to legislate in DC, not provide for voting representation. Regardless, even if you read it much broader, it would conflict with fairly clear language elsewhere, and I think a fair reading of the two of them would leave both intact and not in conflict.

    I support a representative because it's the people's house, there to represent the people of the United States. The Senate, on the other hand, is there to represent the states, and DC is certainly not a state.

    Now, if we argue that the Congress as a whole should exist to represent the people, then maybe we should do away with the Senate entirely, or at least make it representative of the population differentials in different states. I might support that, except in recent years the Senate seems to be a lot more reasonable than the House, and I wouldn't want to replace the Senate with just another body like the House.

    If DC becomes a state I would agree they would deserve senators. But before we do that, I think we should ask why it is more deserving of statehood than, say, New York City, or LA, or any number of major cities. Its only real claim is that it doesn't get representation yet and there's no obvious place to put it. But I think statehood just opens up a bigger can of worms.

    So I guess I think DC should get voting representation in the House and nothing in the Senate. I would support an Amendment to the Constitution allowing that. I don't like the attachment of other strings to the bills being offered (the gun thing and the extra seat to Utah thing).

  4. My understanding is that the constitutional question is far from certain. Ken Starr and Viet (I helped write the Patriot Act) Dihn both agree that the law is constitutional, while other equally respected lawyers say that it is not. Others think that is the Utah section of the law that is problematic. That is fine. I will even accept a quick judicial review of the law should it be passed.

    I guess my problem is that the lack of any representation for D.C residents seems so very wrong, and so clearly wrong that I can't understand how politics have gotten in the way.

    If the constitution is in the way, then we should change it. The Founders clearly had some very wrong ideas about who should vote, so I don't think we should necessarily take their opinion as Gospel.

    As for the Senate, your argument makes sense. I may not agree with it, but it makes sense. As for other major cities, they at least already have representation, and at least in New York City's case, the existence of Senator Clinton clearly speaks to the power that that one city wields. Senators are already not apportioned based on population and don't represent an equal number of people, but at least everyone else who pays taxes has some small percentage of one.