Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution states:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
The oath of office for United States senators reads:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Apparently, Article I, Section 2 violates the oath.
That, or most senators don't take their oaths seriously.
A Senate committee easily passed a bill yesterday that would give the District its first full seat in the House of Representatives, sending it to the full chamber for a crucial vote expected in the next few weeks or months.
The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the legislation 11 to 1 at its first business meeting in the new Congress. The lone "no" vote was cast by Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the 2008 Republican presidential nominee…
"We hope and believe this is our year," said committee Chairman Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), a longtime champion of congressional representation for the District. The bill is expected to pass the House, as it did two years ago.
I don't have any particular problem with senator from Connecticut. My guess is that Miley Cyrus knows more about the Constitution than does Joe Lieberman. After all, Lieberman is only a graduate of Yale Law School.
But that ten other senators share Lieberman's illiteracy, or willful ignorance, or just, like Lieberman, don't give a damn what some scrap of paper written by DWMs over 200 years ago says, is sad. It brings to mind another historical and legal ignoramus (or if one prefers, cynic), George W. Bush, who refused to veto the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, though he felt it to be unconstitutional, because he was sure the courts would find it so.
But unlike the question of whether federal regulation of campaign contributions infringes the right to free political speech (there's no question in my mind that it does), the question of whether a voting member of the House from DC violates Article I isn't even arguably murky. Perhaps the Devil could come up with a tortured linguistic construction, an emanation from a penumbra of an enigma wrapped in a riddle inside a mystery, in which "State" doesn't mean just State, but also includes "District," "Territory," "Possession," or "Travis's house and yard," but Daniel Webster couldn't. The Supreme Court would shoot this down 9-0, with a Scalia concurrence so sarcastic that even the Devil would feel shame.
It has long been apparent that, with few exceptions, our legislators, and even some judges, don't take their oaths, or the law, any more seriously than Larry Craig and David Vitter took their marriage vows. But they won't be hurt by when DC residents receive their voting representative, only to have it taken away short months later. The residents of DC will be hurt, in the way that only people who are promised a thing, only to have it taken away, can be. Much like certain residents of California in the last election.
Of course, I don't really believe that ignorance of the Constitution is at work here, for most senators. It's cynicism. They could go the hard route of amending the Constitution (which as Kip Esquire points out has been tried and failed), or they could enact a law to make the District a State (but that would dilute their own power, and might require the admission of Puerto Rico to pass). So it's style over substance, the illusion of progress over real work and honest debate. Ultimately, it's cruelty, taking away that which was given through a meaningless and blatantly unconstitutional law. In other words, business as usual in Washington.
Democrats hold a 58 to 41 advantage in the Senate. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said she believed the bill had the 60 Senate supporters necessary to overcome a filibuster.
"Our people can virtually taste this vote," she said.
Enjoy the taste, DC, because you'll never get to digest it. The food will be snatched from your mouths.