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Supreme Court rejects bid for DC Congressional seats because it isn’t a ‘state’

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 10, 2020. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/TNS)
October 05, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal to give residents of Washington, D.C., a voting member in the House of Representatives, citing the fact that the capital city is not a state and is therefore not entitled to voting representation in Congress.

The high court’s four-sentence order upheld the ruling of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which found in March of 2020 that the city does not have the constitutional right to voting representation in Congress because it is not a state, the Washington Examiner reported.

Those behind the appeal argued that not having representative votes in Congress violated their rights to equal protection and due process.

“Residents of the District of Columbia are the only adult American citizens subject to federal income taxes who lack voting representation in Congress, except for felons in some states,” the residents’ lawyers wrote at the time.

The Supreme Court justices rejected the argument, citing the same ruling in a 2000 case that highlighted Article 1 of the United States Constitution, which states members of congress are “chosen every second year by the people of the several states.”

The court noted that the only way to change the voting representation in Washington, D.C., is to have change the constitution through the amendment process.   

“I had a feeling that once we got it going, we could get enough interest generated that the Supreme Court would take it,” lawyer Charles A. Miller said following the lower court’s ruling. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.”

Democrats have increased efforts to make the capital city a state, but Republican lawmakers continue to ardently oppose the idea, labeling it a “power grab.”

”It’s about Democrats adding two new progressive U.S. senators to push a radical agenda . . . to reshape America into the socialist utopia they always talk about,” GOP Rep. James Comer said in April. ”It’s not really about voting representation. It’s about Democrats consolidating their power in Washington.”

Despite the pushback, the House voted in June last year to make D.C. a state — the first time in history the proposal has passed a chamber of Congress.

The bill passed the House by a 232-180 vote, almost entirely along party lines, with one Democrat voting no, and no Republicans joining the majority.

The bill was designed to shrink the federal capital to a small area around the National Mall, and the remaining area would be renamed Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.