DC Statehood Greens to Democrats: Use your new power in Congress and the White House to grant DC statehood
THE DC STATEHOOD GREEN PARTY
For immediate release:
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Scott McLarty, DC Statehood Green Party Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, email@example.com
DC statehood can be enacted by a simple majority, without an amendment to the Constitution
No reason to seek the 'DC Vote' (one voting seat in the US House) when DC statehood will afford full representation (two Senators, one Rep) and increase Democrats' power
WASHINGTON, DC -- In the wake of an election giving Democrats strong control over both houses of Congress, the DC Statehood Green Party challenged the next Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to grant statehood to the District of Columbia.
"Democrats in the US House and Senate now have the power to make DC a state," said TE Smith, native Washingtonian, Vietnam veteran, and DC Statehood Green activist. "Democrats would increase their own numbers in Congress, because the new state would have two Senators and one Representative, and these seats would be occupied by Democrats. The new Congress can enact statehood for the District through legislation requiring a simple majority, and without changing the US Constitution."
Statehood Greens called on Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and DC Vote, who have promoted legislation giving the District a single voting seat in the House, to support the call for statehood.
"Why only seek 'DC voting rights,' which would give DC one vote, when Democrats in Congress can give us full statehood and three new voting seats?" asked Mr. Smith. "Statehood would give us more than representation -- it would give us freedom from control over the District's legislation, policies, and finances by Congress and the White House. We'd get the same rights and responsibilities that all other Americans have."
DC Statehood Green Party leaders stressed that Congress could grant statehood to the District through legislation passed by a simple majority, without having to amend the US Constitution, which requires ratification by two thirds of the states.
Congress would pass a bill altering the borders of the constitutionally mandated federal enclave, reducing it to the federal properties (land occupied by the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court building, Mall, etc., analogous to federal properties in many states). Statehood Greens noted the precedent for redrawing the District's border: in 1846, Congress gave Alexandria, originally part of DC, to Virginia.
The bill would be enacted with at least 51% of the vote in Congress. DC residents would then vote on whether to ask Congress for statehood or some other option. (Poll results have shown that DC residents strongly favor statehood.) After this vote, Congress would vote to admit the new state to the union, by a simple majority -- as it admitted all other states after the initial thirteen that founded the United States of America.
"Statehood for DC is part of the unfinished business of the Civil Rights Movement. We can fulfill the centuries-old dream of statehood, but we'll need the voices of everyone in District, including DC Vote and Ms. Norton, to demand that Congress give us our full constitutional rights, equality, and democratic self-government," said Joyce Robinson Paul, Statehood Green candidate US Statehood Representative in the 2008 election (http://www.statehood4dc.com/jrpaul/home). (The DC Statehood Green Party prefers to call the District's 'Shadow' congressional seats 'US Statehood Representative' and 'US Statehood Senator.')
Statehood Green leaders said that statehood for DC would be permanent and irreversible, while Congress would always have the power to rescind Del. Norton's DC vote plan. Statehood Greens also warned that, if challenged in court, the DC vote bill may be overturned, since the US Constitution provides for voting seats in Congress solely to states (Article 1, Section 2).
A decision by the US District Court for DC in 2000 (Adams v. Clinton) held that "the Constitution does not contemplate that the District may serve as a state for purposes of the apportionment of congressional representatives." According to this and other court opinions, only a constitutional amendment will allow the District one or more voting seats in Congress -- unless DC is granted statehood.
DC Statehood Green Party http://www.dcstatehoodgreen.org
"Statehood Greens criticize Del. Norton and her fellow Democrats for omitting DC statehood from the 2008 Democratic platform draft"
DC Statehood Green press release, August 20, 2008
"Talking Points, Quotes on DC Voting Rights Bill, DC Statehood, and Democracy"
DC Statehood Green press release, March 22, 2007