Rich Tucker

Maybe bumper sticker-type slogans do work. One has, perhaps, swayed Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder has lived in the District of Columbia for more than 20 years, and must be as tired as the rest of us are of seeing the city’s idiotic “Taxation without Representation” license plates. The District is amazingly well represented -- indeed, better represented than it would be if it were, in fact, a state. According to a 2006 report from the Tax Foundation, D.C. gets back $6.64 for every $1 it pays in federal taxes -- an amazing rate of return.

New Mexico is the actual state that does the best in this regard, and it gets back a mere $2 for every $1 paid in. Meanwhile California, despite being very well represented with 53 members of Congress, loses money, getting back only 79 cents of every dollar it pays in federal taxes.

It makes sense that lawmakers, while they aren’t elected by District residents, would want to spend taxpayer money on D.C. The Founding Fathers carved out the District in part because they didn’t want the national government to be located in -- and thus possibly dominated by -- a particular state. So hundreds of members of Congress are all looking out for D.C. in various ways, instead of the District having one lone representative crying out in the wilderness.

In any event, many members of Congress want to give D.C. representation in their august body, so they’ve drawn up a bill that would create two new seats -- one for the District (which would elect a Democrat) and one for Utah (which would presumably elect a Republican and thus maintain the current congressional balance).

One minor problem: Such a measure is unconstitutional.

Don’t take my word for it; ask the experts. “Justice Department lawyers concluded in an unpublished opinion earlier this year that the historic D.C. voting rights bill pending in Congress is unconstitutional,” The Washington Post reported in a front-page story April 1. And it was no April Fool’s joke.

This was the conclusion of the Obama administration Office of Legal Counsel, by the way. They’d reached the exact same conclusion as the supposed partisan hacks in the Bush OLC had two years earlier.

That’s no surprise, since the facts in the case are pretty simple. Our Constitution says members of the House of Representatives must be chosen “every second year by the people of the several states.” Since D.C. isn’t a state, it can’t choose representatives.


Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for Townhall.com.