Wednesday, February 25, 2009

DeMint will try to attach Fairness Ban to DC Voting Rights bill

If SC Sen. Jim DeMint has his way, the Senate's plan to add two seats to the House of Representatives (one in Utah; the other in DC) will include an amendment that permanently bans the Fairness Doctrine.

As for the DC Voting Rights Bill, Sen. Jon Kyl has questioned its constitutionality.

“The Constitution of the United States could not be clearer . . . that representation [in the House] is limited to states."

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board agrees with Kyl, while its law blog notes that no less than conservative hero Ken Starr has favored adding representation for DC:

"We have carefully considered this question and believe for three reasons the bill is within Congress’s authority: It is consistent with fundamental constitutional principles; it is consistent with the language of Congress’s constitutional power; and it is consistent with the governing legal precedents.”

The New York Times has lent its support, similarly citing Article 1 provisions:

Some critics insist that the bill is unconstitutional because the Constitution speaks of House members representing “the several states.” The better argument, as respected constitutional scholars argue, is that Article I’s “District Clause” gives Congress sweeping authority over the District of Columbia. That authority includes the right to award it Congressional representation.

But The Heritage Foundation opposes the bill on the same grounds as Kyl:

This bill blatantly violates the Constitution and our Founding Fathers’ explicit intention of a “federal district” which would be subject to Congress’s exclusive jurisdiction.

And perhaps the most damning opponent of all, Stephen Colbert.

[Hat tip on Colbert: Election Law Blog]