Saturday, November 12, 2016

DC Statehood is a Bad Idea

Before we moved to lovely Danville, Kentucky, Mrs. G. and I lived in the District of Columbia.  "Statehood for DC" was a constant political refrain of local politics.

The citizens of the District just voted overwhelmingly (79%) for a plan to separate out a small federal district for the main government offices and monuments, and turn the rest into a new state of New Columbia.

I like the idea of shrinking the District of Columbia down to a federal core - Capitol and Supreme Court, White House, the mall and its adjacent offices and, in my version, across the river to include the Pentagon.

I do not think, though, that the city of Washington surrounding this core is a state.  I do believe that they should have voting representation in the House of Representatives.  But not their own senators.

SO my proposal:  the federal District of Columbia shrink to the smaller diamond I outlined above.  The rest becomes Washington City, Maryland.


Mac said...

What you propose is, I believe, the only constitutional response, other than just keeping the District the District. Certainly, that has been suggested every time this has come up for at least 50 years--the first time I lived in the DC tv, radio. and newspaper area.

It has always had two major opponents. The lesser of the two is the Democrat Party. It is not that The Democrats love the citizens of the District more than anyone else; they just want two more guaranteed Democrat senators and a guaranteed Democrat in the House. Also, once the precedent is set, why shouldn't New York City, LA, and Chicago get their "own" Senators and congresscritters? They are way bigger than DC.

But the strongest opposition comes from (drum roll, please)....the Sovereign State of Maryland. They don't want the city back.

By way of comparison, when Jay Rockefeller (D) was Governor of the State of West Virginia and Chuck Robb (D) was Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the ridge-runner state was in the midst of some fiscal crisis. A reporter shouted a question to Governor Rockefeller:

REPORTER: What are you going to do to solve the problem?

GOVERNOR: Well, you know, the Attorney General and I have discussed this and we think it is Chuck Robb's problem.


GOVERNOR: The Constitution clearly provides that a new State cannot be formed out of an existing State without that State's consent. Because Virginia was one of the Confederate States in 1863, no one sought the consent of the Virginia Legislature. So, we think that, as part of the Commonwealth, we may just leave the solution up to Governor Robb!

(Laughter follows)

The next day the Virginia Legislature promptly passed a bill consenting to the creation of West Virginia and Governor Robb signed it that afternoon.

No State wants the added headache of a problem child.

Mac said...

Before everyone gets all hot and bothered, in a 6-3 decision, Virginia v. West Virginia, 78 U.S. 39 (1871), the Supreme Court held that the creation of West Virginia was constitutional. I'm sure that when Jay Rockefellergave thatb response, both he and Chuck Robb knew about it. Buuuuut, "This is the West (Virginia), Senator. When the truth conflicts with the legend, print the legend."