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Statehood is D.C.'s best option

Sunday, June 27, 2010; A16

The June 20 editorial "Columbia, the 51st state?" suggested that the work of D.C. statehood advocates to bring equality to all taxpaying Americans should take a back seat to bringing the District mere voting representation in the House (but not the Senate). But shadow senator Michael D. Brown is correct: Statehood would be no more difficult to achieve than voting rights. In fact, statehood might be easier.

A D.C. voting rights act may stand a marginally better chance of passing congressional muster, but it would be unconstitutional, because Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution expressly stipulates that representation is reserved exclusively for states. Therefore, this method would require a constitutional amendment.

Statehood would not require an amendment, only a simple act of Congress, just as the 37 non-original states were created. The new state would not host the Capitol, the White House or other major federal buildings. Those would become part of a newly created federal enclave, which would be the new, smaller District, similar to what was done in 1847 when the District was first reduced in size.

Furthermore, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's inauguration speech called for the District to become "the 51st state," not for mere voting representation.

Michael Liszewski, Washington

The writer works on D.C. statehood issues as an intern with the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington chapter.

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