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Rotunda on Constitutionality of Efforts to Create House Vote for DC

Columnist Steve Chapman writes that while a Congressional effort to give the District of Columbia a voting member in the U.S. House of Representatives is long overdue, it is also likely unconstitutional, as the Constitution bars Congress from creating new House seats at will. Proponents of the legislation claim that "because the Constitution gives it the authority "to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever" over the district, they argued, Congress is free to give it a House member.

"But federal courts have ruled to the contrary. And, as George Mason University law professor Ronald Rotunda points out, that passage gives Congress the same authority over all areas obtained by the federal government "for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards and other needful buildings.?"

No Right, 2 Wrongs, The Chicago Tribune, October 1, 2006. By Steve Chapman.

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