By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
In case you missed it last week, a couple of high profile conservatives joined the voices supporting the latest push for American citizens living in Washington, D.C. to actually get the voting rights to which they are morally entitled.
Kenneth Starr (of Clinton impeachment fame) and Viet Dinh ( of PATRIOT Act fame), wrote an op-ed in the Utah Standard-Examiner explaining that the proposal to give D.C. a voting House member is constitutional and that the founding fathers actually would approve of it.
They cite the "District Clause" of the Constitution, which gives Congress authority over the District of Columbia. And they take a big government conservative view of the clause:
This is perhaps the most complete, all-encompassing, no-exceptions language in the entire Constitution. It stemmed from the conviction of America's founders that the District should be beholden exclusively to Congress for any and all purposes.
This power is greater than the Utah Legislature has over Utah, greater than Congress has over legislation affecting all the states. It is truly majestic in scope. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has held that "Congress can provide for the general welfare of citizens within the District of Columbia by any and every act of legislation which it may deem conducive to that end."
(I wonder what would happen if this majestic congressional power were set into opposition against the virtually unlimited presidential war powers conservatives argued for during the imperial Bush presidency?)
I am actually not overly concerned about what the founding fathers would or would not approve of. They certainly wouldn't approve of a black president, for example. But I'll take allies on the D.C. voting rights issue where I can find them.
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