L. Neil Smith's
Number 202, December 9, 2002


Amending the Constitution, Part 29
by Lehr Duquesne

Special to TLE

Well, I'm not one to leave well enough alone. People don't run for office if they don't think they have better ideas than the people who are already there, and on that score I am surely no different.

There has been a great deal of talk for the last several years on the subject of Statehood for the District of Columbia. I think that that is a thoroughly awful idea. In addition to its microscopic geography, and complete lack of any practical resources, it is a hotbed of liberal Democratic sentiment. It would be bad enough to send two more Democrats to the U.S. Senate, but the typical D.C. politician makes Senators like Tom Daschle and John Kerry seem positively moderate. On the other hand, it remains a national embarrassment that half a million American citizens are denied a voice in the People's House. The Twenty-third Amendment, which granted DC residents three electors for President was a small step in the right direction, but Statehood would be a huge step in the wrong direction.

In the interests of full disclosure, I think now would be a good time to point out that I am in favor of Statehood for Puerto Rico. It is long overdue. Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Green, two new delegates from America's last colony deserve their place in the United States Senate. (But Senator Marion Barry? Senator Jesse Jackson? Please. We might as well elect Senator Fidel Castro and Senator Robert Mugabe.)

On the other hand, the people of DC, and also those of Guam, Saipan, Samoa, and all across the Pacific deserve their voice in their government. Toward that end, then, I propose that DC cash in its three Presidential Electors (as granted by the Twenty-third Amendment), in favor of a more equitable arrangement for all Americans outside of the Several States. To wit:


Section I: The twenty-third article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section II: The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by the People of the Several States, and of the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States, and of all Provinces, Commonwealths, and Territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Section III: Representatives shall be apportioned among the Several States, and among all Districts, Provinces, Commonwealths, and Territories according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of Persons in each State, District, Province, Commonwealth, or Territory. For purposes of apportionment, the Congress shall have the power to consolidate the populations of any Provinces, Commonwealths, or Territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, but not of the Several States, nor of the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States.

Section IV: All Districts, Provinces, Commonwealths, and Territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct, a number of Electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Representatives to which they are entitled, and they shall be considered, for the purpose of the election of the President and the Vice President, to be Electors appointed by a State.

Do I think that would quell the campaign for DC Statehood? Not likely. Nevertheless, it is still the right thing to do. From the Marianas to the Virgin Islands, all Americans deserve to be heard. Taxation without representation is tyranny. For that matter, taxation with representation isn't so terrific either, but at least this way people will have a little more say in their own destiny.


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