Basically, I used the prospect of a D.C. Olympic curling team to note my support for D.C. statehood and/or voting rights. In response, I get trackbacked by this oh-so-clever rejoinder [UPDATE: Kip wants me to know that he wrote his post first, and then linked to mine later. Okay, fair enough--but his post remains really, really, really wrong--and it shouldn't have taken a college Sophomore to point it out]:
Okay, humor aside - the subject of (voting) congressional representation for residents of the District of Columbia?
It's quite simple really: too bad, so sad. You don't like it? Then either move or amend the Constitution.
The question of "one person, one vote" came up during the Alito confirmation hearings. It's an important constitutional principle. But so is the concept that the District of Columbia is not a state and therefore is simply not entitled to (voting) congressional representation.
So okay, fine, disenfranchisement of D.C. residents stinks. Point conceded.
But it's what the Constitution calls for. Don't like it? Amend it. It wouldn't be the first time.
My immediate first thought was "wait a minute--where in the constitution does it mandate that D.C. residents not be allowed to vote?" The closest thing on point is Article I, Section 8, Clause 17, which reads as follows:
[Congress has the power] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States....
This in no way precludes D.C. voting rights. For one, it's a grant of power, not a mandate. Congress can choose to exercise it in anyway it wishes. It doesn't have to exercise it in a manner which deprives U.S. citizens of representation. Hell, it doesn't even have to exercise it at all if it doesn't want to. Moreover, there is no plausible way to interpret said clause to prevent many of the forwarded plans to restore D.C. voting rights--retro-ceding of most or all of the territory to Maryland, or simply declaring it another state (as Congress is empowered to do under Article IV Section 3). Kip tries to argue in comments that this would violate "the constitutional provision for the 'seat of government,'" but as I pointed out above, there is no such provision in terms of it being an inviolable mandate (only an option that Congress can decide to or not to exercise). But even if there needs to be some minimum territory given to the federal government for their use alone, I don't think most D.C. residents would object if the bare "core" of the federal government (White House, Capitol Building, maybe the Mall) were considered federal territory as long as Georgetown and Mt. Pleasant and Anacostia were granted full representation. The constitutional argument is wildly off the mark.
My next thought was that it's a bit cruel to tell DCers that they should just "amend the constitution." Amending the constitution is a democratic process that (almost always) begins with a congressional vote. The problem we're trying to rectify here is that...Washingtonians don't have congressional votes. So in effect, you're telling D.C. residents that they should resort to a process that they don't have access to. Ouch. Sure, it's not an insurmountable hurdle (see Amendment 23), but even still: doesn't it sound more like something Catbert would do than a real, breathing, ensouled human being? Even in normal cases, the "just amend the constitution" argument doesn't do much for me, as (like in this case) it's usually a shield for absurdly narrow readings of the constitutional text, but in this case, it's especially ridiculous. It's like telling a black slave in 1820 that if doesn't like slavery, he should just amend the constitution. To amend the constitution, you got to stop being a slave, to stop being a slave, you got to amend the constitution--oh the pain!
But the final thing, and the part that really got to me, was this: why not amend the constitution? This is what really makes his argument non-sensical, because distilled down it makes his post into this:
(1) A group of Washingtonians are trying to form an Olympic squad to draw attention to their lack of representation
(2) Giving them representation would require a constitutional amendment, therefore
(3) The Washingtonians are stupid
Nothing in my post, or the D.C. statehood movement, or using an Olympic team to draw attention to said movement, would preclude the constitutional option. It is completely and utterly irrelevant to our advocacy at this level. So why all the snark? Given that Kip concedes that Washington disenfranchisement "stinks," it would seem plausible that he would support such an amendment. And in building up political capital to get said amendment passed, the D.C. team could be invaluable--or at least, as likely to be valuable as any other stunt pulled by citizens deprived of their right to vote (maybe they could initiate a bus boycott? Worked for Dr. King). Now, Kip and I disagree about whether an amendment is constitutionally necessary to achieve this (and by "disagree" I mean he's inarguably wrong about it). But at the end of the day, all that should result in is a post from Kip that supports D.C. enfranchisement, but caveating that he thinks a constitutional amendment is required to do it. And perhaps he could argue that the Olympic stunt is likely to backfire, or won't work, or otherwise would harm the movement (I don't know). But ultimately, his post as stands is the most naked straw-man argument I've seen in ages.
Too bad, too sad.