The Democrats have finally pulled the plug on the D.C. Vote bill — citing an amendment that would strip the city of its gun control laws. While D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) previously stated (here and here) that there was an agreement to pass the amendment as the cost for the D.C. vote, House leadership decided yesterday to pull the bill.
I testified at the prior congressional hearings (here and here and here) and written columns (here and here) on why I consider the bill to be flagrantly unconstitutional. I have also written a long academic piece explaining why this means of securing the vote would face a likely court challenge and, in my view, such a challenge would be successful. I have long supported D.C. residents gaining a vote and proposed alternative and constitutional means to secure such a result.
As I have stated in four or five congressional hearings, we could have secured a vote for D.C. years ago if this ill-conceived plan had not been adopted. Ironically, it was adopted out of pure political convenience to trade off a seat for Utah. This is a case of path dependence where past investment in one approach now makes it difficult to admit that another approach is better. However, that state is now likely to get the seat in the current census. While I am doubtful, I only wish that the leadership would now reconsider and work on a constitutional option.
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