Easy Statehood for DC

In my Constitution book, I argued for DC to become part of Maryland so that they could get representation in the Senate and Congress. But I overlooked something.

The District of Columbia was set up as a neutral place halfway between the 13 states where the federal government could exist free from any interference from any state. Of course, no one predicted at the time that it would grow to have more people in it than some smaller states.

Originally, it was a 10 mile square, with part of it on the Virginia side of the Potomac, but that side eventually was given to Virginia and became Arlington.

Since the District is in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17), I said you would need a Constitutional Amendment to change that and make it a state. After all, you needed an amendment to give them Electoral Votes (The 23rd). And if you wanted to make DC a state, you’d have to basically get rid of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17.

But it was pointed out recently that no, you don’t.

You see, nowhere in the Constitution does it say where the District would be located, and the only reference to the size of the district is a maximum limit of 10 miles square). So some are saying the simplest solution is to redefine the District’s area to only include the federal buildings: The Capitol, White House, Supreme Court building, the Smithsonian, and the various federal office buildings that no one lives in. The rest can become a brand new state.

This is a great idea, and doesn’t need an amendment, which has very little chance of getting 3/4ths of the states to agree to (especially since, let’s face it, we’ll end up with two new Senators who will most likely be Democrats and black — no Republican state wants that).

Of course, we could still make it part of Maryland. They’d get at least a few members in the House of Representatives.

But I like the state idea. And you only need a simple majority to pass it.

And while you’re at it, add Puerto Rico, which has a larger population than 20 other states. 52 stars is much easier to fit on a flag than 51.

Constitutional Amendments I’d add

Which amendments would I like to see made to our Constitution?

After discussing Schwarzenegger’s pledge to run for President a few days ago, I began thinking of them.  Here then is my list, in order of preference.constitution_quill_pen

Abolish the Electoral College and replace it with popular vote.  This will get rid of “red” and “blue” states, allow for every vote to count, and prevent someone the majority of Americans don’t want from becoming President.

Abolish the requirement that you have to be a natural born citizen to be President.  Keep the requirement for citizenship, of course, but there is no reason why someone who became a citizen should not run.

Establish an independent commission to redraw congressional districts every ten years.  In order to prevent gerrymandering, we need to take district drawing out of the hands of politicians.  Ideally, they should do this for the states too, under the idea of Equal Protection.

Limit Senators to two six-year terms and Congress members to six two-year terms.   Come on, it’s not like there aren’t other qualified people out there.  Serve your terms and go home.  Treat this like a public service instead of a career.

Abolish Washington DC and make Washington part of Maryland. It’s ridiculous that these people do not get a representative in Congress. While there are enough people living there to make DC a state (more people live in DC than in Wyoming), the easiest solution is to just merge it with Maryland.

Define the death penalty as “cruel and unusual punishment” and thus prohibited.  It’s time we recognized that the death penalty is prone to mistakes, applied in a discriminatory manner, and doesn’t belong in a modern civilized society.

Then there are some that are needed to overturn Supreme Court decisions, but honestly, a few more votes on the Court would prevent that.  Back in the 70s we fought for an Equal Rights Amendment to prohibit discrimination against women.  Since that time, the Courts have held that women are, indeed, “people” under the 14th amendment and as such are entitled to protection against discrimination.  However, a different court could come along and go back the other way.  Therefore, the following amendments would be nice:

Amend the 14th amendment to prohibit discrimination against women, gays, and non-English speaking people.  I’m including transgender people and such in this.

Define “people” to exclude corporations.  A person has morals and eventually dies.  Conservatives who cite the Founding Fathers for anything to support their views are oddly silent on this one.

Define “speech” to exclude money.  These last two are needed to overturn the Citizen’s United case.