Our District

by Hans A. von Spakovsky

I am hearing rumblings that some senators may offer a constitutional amendment as an alternative to the D.C. voting bill.  While they are correct that a constitutional amendment is the only way that the District can be given a voting member in the House of Representatives consistent with both Article I and the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution (as I explain here), it is a bad idea that is contrary to our founding federalist structure.  Rather than place the seat of the federal government in any one state — which could lead that state to exercise undue influence over the federal government — the Framers intended  for a federal enclave — a federal city.  As James Madison said, “[t]he indispensable necessity of compleat authority at the seat of Government carries its own evidence with it.” The Founders understood that it was necessary for the seat of federal government to be in an insular city — one that would not make the members of Congress beholden or subject to the politicians of any particular state for, for example, services that they may require to work and live.  In exchange, the citizens of the federal city would receive the benefit of having their interests advocated in some measure by all the members of Congress who work (and in many cases live) in the District and who, therefore, are attuned to the city’s interest.  Anyone doubting that this is true need only look to the fact that the District receives $5.55 for every dollar in federal taxes it pays: more than twice as much as any actual state. 

The Corner

The one and only.