Disrespecting the Constitution -- Again!
Jim L. Riley
Professor of Politics


        A blatantly unconstitutional action has been scheduled for full vote and likely approval by the U. S. Senate (S-160).  Article I, Sec. 2 of the Constitution requires The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States… Despite this unequivocal language the Senate will very likely vote to allow the District of Columbia to have full voting representation in the House. 
          The impetus behind this cynical effort to evade the Constitution is an attempt by congressional Democrats to enhance their power in the House and ultimately in the Senate by including a congress person and Senator from a voting district that is overwhelmingly Democratic in its voting behavior.  Only two Democrats voted against this outrageous power grab:  Max Baucus of
Montana and Robert Byrd of West Virginia.  To their shame, eight Republicans and one independent voted in favor of the measure which will evade the clear requirements of the U.S. Constitution in an effort to achieve a political goal. 
        Obviously the Constitution provides a method of granting statehood to the
District of Columbia or to granting it voting rights in the Congress short of statehood but this amendment route is viewed as too uncertain and time consuming by the proponents of the devious D.C. Voting Act.  The 1978 proposed constitutional amendment to give congressional voting rights to the District of Columbia failed to gain the necessary 38 states for ratification.  The action being considered in the Senate now resembles efforts to effectively change the way Presidents are elected without amending the Constitution - sometimes called the Koza proposal.  In each instance to the proponents of the change, the end justifies the means even if violating the Constitution is required for the goal in question.
          Actions such as these further diminish the respect for law generally and ultimately the supreme law of this nation:  The Constitution.  With the strong likelihood of a presidential signature on this cynical piece of legislation, we can only hope that the United States Supreme Court will in a proper case invalidate the action as unconstitutional.