Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

“As if it were a state.”


That’s how George F. Will ends an excellent column this morning on the blatantly unconstitutional bill making its way through Congress to give the District of Columbia a regular seat in the House of Representatives.  I thank him for one argument I have not employed because I didn’t know it: “in 1978, the District’s advocates sent to the states a constitutional amendment requiring that ‘for purposes of representation’ the district would be ‘treated as though it were a state.’  Only 16 states ratified it, 22 short of the required number.”  Thirty years ago, even Democrats recognized that the Constitution meant what it said about Congress representing only the people of states.

Sadly, Will is probably right that this will get through the Senate and be signed by President Obama, who co-sponsored it when he was a senator.  The real disgrace belongs to Robert Bennett and Orrin Hatch, Utah’s senators, and Rob Bishop, Jim Matheson, and Jason Chaffetz, Utah’s House members (all but Matheson are Republicans). Utah will get a new seat paired with D.C.’s, but would be getting one in the 2012 elections anyway, after the 2010 census.  As Will says, this devil’s bargain will merely get Utah the seat one election cycle sooner: “The Constitution, that cobweb, is all that stands between Utah and instant gratification.”

Shame on you, gentlemen.


(Simply insert your e-mail and hit “Sign Up.”)

Subscribe to National Review