The Constitution of the United States grants each state voting representation in both houses of the United States Congress. It defines that the federal district is outside any state and does not grant it any voting representation in Congress. Despite efforts to ensure full political representation of the District of Columbia, obstacles remain. The Voting Rights Amendment was an amendment proposed by Congress in 1978 to grant D.
C. residents similar representation to that of states in the national government. Currently, as established in the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution, D. has limited representation in the national government, even though it has a larger population than Wyoming and Vermont. Voting is one of the most fundamental civil rights, and yet the 700,000 residents of D.
are denied full right to vote and representation in Congress, even though Congress exercises undue power over people living in D. We are also denied the right to pass our own laws without congressional approval. Congress has repeatedly vetoed many important DC laws that cause significant harm to local public health and community safety. It's not a state, we don't have full control over our own criminal justice system. You cannot enact criminal justice reforms that improve the safety and well-being of people living in the District.
It is the only national capital in the democratic world whose citizens do not have the same voting and representation rights. What is the racist story of denying D. statehood to its residents? In 1867, just after the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson vetoed a bill that would grant citizens of the District, including black men, the right to vote. Congress overrode the veto and briefly granted notable and historic political influence to black Washingtonians. But just when black voters began to exercise their political power in DC, Senator John Tyler Morgan of Alabama stated that it became necessary to “completely deny the right to suffrage to all human beings” after “blacks came to this district”.Statehood for D.
does not require any new constitutional amendments; according to the Constitution, Congress has the authority to admit new states, and all states that were admitted to the Union after 1788 have been admitted by Congress. The Admission Act would create a state from residential areas of D. C., create federal lands including those for Capitol Hill, White House and other federal buildings as a separate and distinct federal district called Capital. The 51st state, called Washington State or Douglass Commonwealth, would not have jurisdiction over the capital. We know that Congress has the power to reduce the size of the capital because it has already done so; in 1848 it returned most of Arlington and Alexandria from D.
C., and in 1791 just four years after signing of Constitution Congress changed configuration of District. Founding Fathers James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay always foresaw full voting rights for D. residents who wrote in Federalist Papers that D. residents “will have had their voice in choosing government that will exercise authority over them”.The 23rd Amendment was added to Constitution in 1961 to expand voting rights and give people living in Federal District three electoral votes for president; entering a state doesn't violate it, it simply reduces Federal District and would leave President and his family as only residents of resized Federal District - I would recommend expedited process for reviewing 23rd Amendment including possibility for President and his family to vote in their previous home state. Whatever political solution for 23rd Amendment, turning D.
C into a state doesn't violate it; what does it mean that D. C doesn't have control over its own laws? Unlike any other state, D. C cannot pass its own laws without “congressional review” something that Congress has repeatedly used to block and nullify will of people in DC - under District of Columbia Autonomy Act of 1973 all laws passed by DC Council signed by mayor are subject to mandatory “congressional review” by US Congress between 30-60 days depending on type of legislation - only after congressional review period if Congress does not block them can those laws take effect. How does lack of statehood harm criminal justice system in DC? It has no control over many aspects of its own criminal justice system and cannot enact necessary reforms; state judges are appointed by state officials or elected officials but DC judges are appointed by President of United States and confirmed by US Senate - it has locally elected attorney general but all felonies and some misdemeanors are prosecuted by US Attorney - this is important because every other city and state has elected district attorneys who can work to reform local criminal justice policies and combat problems of mass incarceration through prosecutorial reform - in DC lawyer who is not accountable to local voters prosecution reform which is key to combating mass incarceration is next to impossible - nor does it have control over its prison system - those convicted of crimes from DC counties are placed in custody...The denial of full voting rights for residents of Washington D. C., despite having a larger population than some states, is an injustice that needs addressing urgently.
The 23rd Amendment was added to Constitution in 1961 with an aim to expand voting rights but this has not been enough for DC residents who still lack full control over their own criminal justice system or prison system due to lack of statehood status. Statehood for D. C., which does not require any new constitutional amendments according to the Constitution, would grant citizens full voting rights as well as autonomy over their own laws without congressional review or interference from outside forces. The Founding Fathers James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay always foresaw full voting rights for D. C., which is why we must continue fighting for this right until it is granted.