“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. This consideration has the more weight, as the gradual accumulation of public improvements at the stationary residence of the government would be both too great a public pledge to be left in the hands of a single State, and would create so many obstacles to a removal of the government, as still further to abridge its necessary independence. The extent of this federal district is sufficiently circumscribed to satisfy every jealousy of an opposite nature. And as it is to be appropriated to this use with the consent of the State ceding it; as the State will no doubt provide in the compact for the rights and the consent of the citizens inhabiting it; as the inhabitants will find sufficient inducements of interest to become willing parties to the cession; as they will have had their voice in the election of the government which is to exercise authority over them; as a municipal legislature for local purposes, derived from their own suffrages, will of course be allowed them; and as the authority of the legislature of the State, and of the inhabitants of the ceded part of it, to concur in the cession, will be derived from the whole people of the State in their adoption of the Constitution, every imaginable objection seems to be obviated.” – Publius (James Madison), Federalist #43
It would seem that it is necessary to delve into the history and purpose of Washington, D.C. Recently, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray was arrested, along with 40 other imbeciles, in a faux-spontaneous protest to the Federal government’s restrictions on what Mayor Gray calls D.C.’s “self-rule”. A number of other City officials were arrested, to include City Coucnil Chair Kwame Brown- who should be arrested for other reasons…
The issue is that these folks believe that D.C. should have the rights and freedoms as any other state, except that D.C. is not a state, nor was it ever intended to have such rights or freedoms.
The concept of a independent, national capital was derived from the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783. It basically boiled down to protecting the federal government from the whims and pressures of the States. It was argued that if the capital resided in any one state, then that state would have undue benefit against other States as well as undue pressure against the federal government. Therefore, it was deemed that the nation’s capital needed to be an independent territory under the control of Congress. It was not until 1973 that D.C. was allowed “Home Rule”, which allowed the city limited self-governance with a City Council and Mayor. However, all legislation and executive actions are subject to Congressional oversight and approval.
Now, some might argue that this is oppressive to the resident of the city. After all, they have a single Representative in the House who only has voting privileges in Committee. D.C. has no voice in the Senate and can only vote for President in national elections. Their mantra is Taxation Without Representation.
Congress even sent a Constitutional Amendment to the States for ratification granting D.C. Senate, House and Electoral college representation as if it were a state. Only 16 States ratified the amendment in the 7 year window granted for review.
However, one needs spend about three minutes thinking about D.C., and the wise words of the founders, to recognize that this is all well and good.
Washington D.C. complains about not having Congressional representation. Nonesense, it has more representatives than anyone else. 535 to be exact. Every Senator and Representative provides support to Washington D.C. Billions of dollars flow into the local population and D.C.’s proximity to national leaders ensures that it has a constant, reliable voice in the national agenda. To say D.C. has no representation is a blanket denial of reality.
No, but this is not the point of the argument. D.C. is a blue city, just by its very nature. A city dependent on government largess and excess is not going to support small-government conservatism. So the reliability of the city to consistently vote Dem drives the Lefts efforts to expand the rights of the city- even at the expense of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution states:
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.
Article 1, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution states:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote. [This was later amended to general elections for the selection of Senators]
Efforts to grant D.C. equal representation to the States without Constitutional amendment is, frankly, unconstitutional. There is a reason the States have the representation that they do in the federal system we have- Sovereignty. D.C. has no sovereignty, nor was it ever intended to have sovereignty. In fact, sovereignty is the antithesis to the premise of D.C.- a federal seat of power independent from the states.
This also runs counter to the Tenth Amendment, which states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
D.C. is based purely on the Federal government. However loud Mayor Gray, et al, may bawl, this is the single greatest bit to consider, Article 1, Section 8:
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;
D.C. was, and is, to be treated no differently than any other federal property. Yes, it is the seat of power for the National government, and by its role it inherently demands more prestige and privileges than your typical fort of magazine, however, it is an execution of the powers of the federal government.
The people who live in D.C. are comparable to folks living in a Wal-Mart, or ship yard. First and foremost, it is a place of business. It is not a city, it is a district, a federal territory dedicated to national governance. It is no different than a fort, or magazine, defending the interests of the nation and arming the nation with sound policies geared towards advancement and betterment for society. While the politics of D.C. have utterly failed at dealing with our interests or providing sound policies, that does not change the premise of what the city is in the first place.
D.C. has one of the highest murder rates in the nation. It has over a half billion dollar deficit and has been forced into federal financial management before because of outrageous debt. D.C. has a felon on the city council in Marion Barry, and pending felon in council chair Kwame Brown and a mayor who is under investigation. All in a typical day for D.C., which raises serious questions for why the District deserves home rule, let alone to be held in equal to States. Of course, this should all be beside the point since the Constitution provides no current vehicle for D.C.’s desires. We have a process in this nation for Constitutional Amendment, go through the process and respect the laws, the Constitution and the will of the Founding Fathers.