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DC mayor orders 51-star flags to be flown for Flag Day in push for DC statehood

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser speaking at 2015 AFGE Legislative Conference. (AFGE/Flickr)
June 14, 2022

Ahead of Flag Day, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser directed her staff to fly American flags with 51 stars along Pennsylvania Avenue in an effort to remind “Congress and the nation that the 700,000 tax-paying American citizens living in Washington, D.C., demand to be recognized.”

“On Flag Day, we celebrate American ideals, American history, and American liberty. But the very foundation of those ideals, and the basis for our liberty, is representation. DC’s disenfranchisement is a stain on American democracy – a 220-year-old wrong that demands to be righted,” Bowser said in a statement on Monday.

Bowser also highlighted the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on Roe v. Wade, and how the ruling being overturned would impact residents of the nation’s capital.

“As Americans nationwide brace for a decision on the future of Roe v. Wade, we are also reminded that DC’s disenfranchisement impacts not just Americans living in DC, but Americans nationwide who share our values. While the stakes are even higher for Washingtonians, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the majority of Americans who believe in a woman’s right to choose,” she claimed. “We also stand shoulder to shoulder with the majority of Americans demanding common sense gun reforms, and with the majority of Americans who want to build a more inclusive democracy.”

“We are at an inflection point for American democracy, and it is within the Senate’s power to do the right thing, embrace representation, and move DC statehood forward to the President’s desk,” Bowser added.

The mayor called on the U.S. Senate to pass the Washington, DC Admission Act, which would make the capital city a state, though to do so may violate Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the United States Constitution.

James Madison, one of America’s Founding Fathers, wrote in Federalist 43 that the exclusivity of the nation’s capital was an “indispensable necessity.”

“Without it, not only the public authority might be insulted and its proceedings interrupted with impunity; but a dependence of the members of the general government on the State comprehending the seat of the government, for protection in the exercise of their duty, might bring on the national councils an imputation of awe or influence, equally dishonorable to the government and dissatisfactory to [the other States],” Madison wrote.

The quote was included in an April 2021 letter to President Joe Biden and congressional leaders from 22 states’ Attorneys General opposing DC’s statehood.