The House of Representatives will vote Tuesday on whether to make Washington, D.C., a State.
The House Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), voted the bill, H.R. 51, out of committee by a vote of 25-19 to create D.C. statehood Wednesday.
The ultimate argument seems to be whether the 23rd Amendment guarantees the federal Capitol at least three electors in presidential elections, Rep. Any Biggs (R-AZ) suggested Wednesday.
Biggs’ view is supported by legal scholars, who opposed D.C. statehood’s feasibility without a Constitutional amendment to the 23rd Amendment. The Office of Legal Counsel in 2007 believed it was unconstitutional, the Justice Department under former President Reagan and former President Carter stated the transformation was unconstitutional, and so did Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, when he sat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Additionally, twenty-two state Attorneys General sent a letter Tuesday to President Joe Biden and Congress arguing Washington, D.C., cannot transition into a state via legislation, but only through the method of a Constitutional amendment.
Opposition to D.C. statehood is argued on three classical points:
- Our nation’s capital was always meant to be unique. The founders wanted it to be a federal district, existing beyond the confines or influence of any one state.
- H.R. 51 would require Congress to ignore the plain command of the 23rd Amendment.
- Even those who support D.C. statehood admit district residents enjoy special benefits due to where they live and would enjoy an outsize influence in Congress.