Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Congressional Seats for Utah & the District of Columbia

I am concerned about the Constitutional questions raised by the District of Columbia gaining a seat in Congress. I am not convinced that it is legal without amending the Constitution.

Remember, during the Carter Administration, just such an amendment was proposed. But, it was rejected by the majority of state legislatures in this country. The people spoke through their elected representatives acting within our system of Federalism. The answer was "no."

Now, this latest effort appears to be trying to do an end-around the Constitution, robbing the individual state legislatures of their rightful voice in the matter. Thus, beyond being a short-sighted power grab for Utah and the District of Columbia, the proposed legislation is also a power grab by the Federal Government over the individual states.

The District of Columbia was created as kind of a neutral territory, fully controlled by the states together--the United States--not the local population. Inch by inch, it now appears to be gradually creeping toward all the rights and powers of statehood.

That reality would create a completely new dynamic which may not be in the best interest of the nation as a whole. We have learned from sad experience that the Law of Unintended Consequences frequently comes in to play with such things.

Have we really thought this thing through? Do we really want the seat of our national government controlled by a local government over which we have no power? That appears to be where we are going. But, that is not the vision provided by the Constitution.

Ironically, Utah, of all places, is pushing for this undermining of the Constitution, because we want a fourth seat so badly. But, why? Honestly, how much are we really going to get out of it? I personally can wait four years until the next census, if doing so helps to preserve Federalism in this country.

Granted, as a Republican, I am not eager to see such a geographically small, and extremely liberal, area gain so much power in the Senate. (Once the precedent of granting DC representation in the House is established, there ultimately will be no basis for denying it full Senate representation.) But, my position is not based upon political expediency. I am honestly concerned about the principle of Federalism in this country and the loss of a neutral seat for our national government.

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