VOLOKH at mail.law.ucla.edu
Thu Oct 19 12:26:06 PDT 2000
As a California citizen, I'm not that sure I see the strong moral
argument in favor of D.C. statehood. True, right now D.C. is
underrepresented relative to its population in Congress; it has, last I
checked, about 400-500,000 inhabitants, which makes it seem fair that it
would have about 1/500th of the votes in Congress. But it's also
overrepresentated relative to its population in the Electoral College;
having 3 of the 535 votes. And if it were admitted as a state, it would be
likewise overrepresented in the Congress, having 2 senators -- the same
number that California, which has about 60 times D.C.'s population.
Now one might well respond that the equality of votes in the Senate,
while perhaps unfair from the perspective of representation-by-population,
is part of the original constitutional deal, so California has no right to
complain. But then one has to accept that the lack of representation of
D.C. is also part of the original constitutional deal, no? And if one is
revising the original deal in the name of making sure that D.C. citizens
aren't underrepresented, it's not clear that this justifies a result in
which they would be overrepresented.
Fortunately, it seems to me there is a way of giving D.C.
representation that really is related to its population, neither more nor
less: Give D.C. residents their own Representative, and allow them to vote
in elections for the Maryland (or, if you prefer, Virginia) senators. Since
Maryland is, I believe, not far from the average in population, it would
actually mean that D.C. residents have a roughly fair share of the vote for
the Senate, and a roughly fair share of the vote for the House. True,
they'll still be overrepresented in Presidential elections, but we can set
that aside for now (especially since if we're amending that system, we might
want to go whole hog and just get rid of the Electoral College).
Not a perfect solution, I realize; Maryland voters, for instance,
might not want D.C.ers voting for the Maryland senators. But one that does
not solve the problem of unfairness to D.C. residents by working a greater
unfairness on Californians.
Leslie Goldstein writes:
> I wonder why there is not more clamor in DC for a statehood amdnt. What
> is its
> population size?
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Conlawprof