Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good for Sen. Baucus

Sen. Max Baucus did the right thing in voting against giving voting representation to the District of Columbia. Unsurprisingly, Sen. Tester did the wrong thing in voting for it. Of course, if Tester's election was in 2008 and Baucus's were in 2012, they may well have switched roles, but we can't know that one way or another. So let's just keep it simple, and praise Max.

The reasons why this is the right vote were touched on when MH disagreed with Gov. Mike Huckabee's statement that he would support such legislation.

The simplest means for giving voters in D.C. Congressional representation would be to redraw the boundaries of the District of Columbia. Put all of those residential areas into Maryland, and at the next census, they'd be sure to have their own voting Congressman and would be able to vote for Maryland's Senators. (We'd need to repeal the amendment giving 3 electoral college votes to D.C., but that could happen pretty quickly.)

Barring that, the proper means would be a Constitutional amendment giving a voting Congressional representative to D.C. That such an amendment is proper and indeed necessary to change how D.C. is dealt with is made clear by the fact that presidential electors were granted to D.C. via a Constitutional amendment, not through simple legislation. Again, we would refer readers to the above link.

Those who would bypass the Constitutional amendment process in favor of simple legislation are voting to take the matter out of the hands of the most representative and directly answerable bodies in the nation -- state legislatures. Amending the Constitution is the prerogative of the state legislatures, since the U.S. Constitution is the creation of the state legislatures.

Keep in mind that Congress does not have to initiate Constitutional amendments -- the legislatures of 2/3rds of the states can call for a convention to do so.

So the tools of democracy are wide open to the supporters of Congressional representation for D.C.

Bypass the U.S. Senate entirely, and go for it.

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