Like a broken record, the Washington Post is back yet again today to press the unconstitutional case for full voting representation for the District of Columbia in the U.S. House of Representatives. And get this: the Post says that “opponents of D.C. voting rights have latched onto the only argument they can make with a straight face — that the bill is unconstitutional.” Um, yeah. Straighter faces are not necessary. Are they? Next we are told this: “Former judges and constitutional scholars such as Kenneth Starr, Patricia Wald and Viet Dinh, not to mention the American Bar Association, believe the bill is constitutional.” That “not to mention the ABA” has me in stitches, since the track record of the ABA in making sound pronouncements on the meaning of the Constitution is, frankly, abysmal, more or less since the organization’s founding. But it gets worse. The editorial ends this way: “We concede that serious people hold the contrary view. [Thanks! See this critique of the Starr-Wald argument.] No court has ever weighed in on the D.C. Voting Rights Act [how could any court have done this, since the act hasn’t passed yet?], so the constitutional question is open. That, though, is an issue for the courts to decide, in the event of a legal challenge. It should not be an excuse for Congress to continue to deny a basic right to more than half a million people.” Why is it “an issue for the courts to decide”? And why, in heaven’s name, should the Congress use the excuse of judicial supremacy as a reason to pass a bill that is unconstitutional on its face, under its skin, and at its heart? If members of Congress believe the bill is unconstitutional, or even doubtful, they should vote against it and look for another solution to alleged plight of D.C. residents (like making them Marylanders again). Not that Congress and the executive haven’t kicked tough constitutional issues to the courts before, on the wrongheaded pretext that they are “for the courts to decide” when as often as not they are no such thing. Keith Whittington of Princeton has in fact just published an entire book apparently devoted to this irresponsible practice. I look forward to reading it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader, “Save Ike from the Kikes.” I’d better explain. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the Nazi troll armies’ march ... Read More
Studies will someday be done on the deleterious effect Donald Trump has had on the brains of people who loathe him. It drives them to say things that are as palpably foolish as some of the president’s own doozies. This week’s winner: There is no such thing as a “perjury trap.” Because some of the ... Read More
Michelle Williams, an actress, has decided to become a spokesman on the issue of pay inequality in her profession, and appears this month on the cover of Vanity Fair with a headline to that effect. This decision follows what she describes as a humiliating episode in which she learned in the pages of USA Today ... Read More
Will Democrats pull an “October Surprise” this year and announce that the highly polarizing Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco won’t be their candidate for House speaker after all? Growing up in the Bay Area, I saw Pelosi’s iron will and stubbornness up close for decades. The possibility of her stepping back ... Read More
A few weeks before I was ordained a Catholic priest in the late autumn of 1994, my superior in the seminary told me that, in his opinion, it was probably the most difficult time in a century to become a priest. Yet, he went on, it was also the most exciting time. I really did not take much notice of what he ... Read More