George Will

Senate passage of the D.C. House Voting Rights Act is assured, partly because under the Act's terms, Utah, which has two Republican senators, will be awarded a fourth House seat. The state came close to qualifying for a fourth after the 2000 census and, because it is growing like Jack's beanstalk, would have been awarded a fourth after the 2010 census. But why wait for 2012? The Constitution, that cobweb, is all that stands between Utah and instant gratification. So for the first time in 96 years, the size of the House will be permanently increased, by two members, to 437. Last year, as a senator, Barack Obama supported the act, so when it flutters onto his desk, he will sign it, although a veto would seem to be required by the recent oath he swore to defend the Constitution from threats, presumably including Congress.

Still, a freshly minted adjective describes this unseemly handing out, like party favors, of seats in the national legislature: Blagojevichian. He had an unsavory plan for filling one Senate seat for a while. Congress has an anti-constitutional plan for creating two Senate seats and one in the House forever.

When the first modification of the nation's flag was occasioned by the admission to the union of Vermont and Kentucky in 1791 and 1792, respectively, Congress stipulated that the flag have 15 stars -- and 15 stripes. But by the time the second modification was ordered, in 1818, there were 20 states. It was clear -- because of Manifest Destiny, "Westward the course of empire takes its way," etc. -- that the flag was going to resemble the necktie displays nowadays at Brooks Brothers (founded in 1818) -- too many stripes. So the flag went back to 13 stripes, and only stars have proliferated.

When the 51st star is added for the District, Congress should make at least a limited nod to the Constitution by stipulating that the star be bracketed by quotation marks, or have over it a small asterisk. This would be a way of saying: "As if it were a state."


George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
 
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