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REPRESENTATION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN CONGRESS.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1916.
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., pursuant to the call of the chairman.
Present: Senators Pomerene (chairman), Hollis, and Dillingham. Theodore W. Noyes, Chapin Brown, A. Leftwich Sinclair, William McK. Clayton, Roy C. Claflin, and others appeared.
The CHAIRMAN. The subcommittee has been called for the purpose of considering Senate joint resolution 32, which was introduced by Senator Chamberlain, as follows:
A JOINT RESOLUTION (S. J. Res. 32) Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States extending the right of suffrage to residents of the District of Columbia.
Resolved, etc., That the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States be proposed for ratification by the legislatures of the several States, which, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States, shall be valid as a part of said Constitution, namely:
SECTION 1. That for the purpose of representation in the Congress of the United States and among the electors of President and Vice President, the residents of the District of Columbia shall have the status of citizens of a State. They shall be entitled to elect two Senators, Representatives in the House according to their numbers as determined by the decennial enumeration, and presidential electors equal in number to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which they may be entitled in the Congress.
SEC. 2. That Congress shall provide by law the qualifications of voters and the times and manner of choosing the Senators, the Representative or Representatives, and the electors authorized by this article.
SEC. 3. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator Pomerene). The subcommittee will first hear Mr. Noyes.
STATEMENT OF THEODORE W. NOYES.
Mr. NOYES. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, this constitutional amendment which we favor does not propose the admission of the District of Columbia into the Union as a sovereign State; it does not propose the destruction of the "Ten miles square provision of the Constitution; it does not lessen in the smallest degree the control by the Nation through Congress of what remains of the "10 miles square.'
It does not disturb in any way the financial relation of Nation and Capital. It is not based upon either the abolition or the retention of the half-and-half law.
It is not complicated with changes in the municipal government of the District. In respect to such propositions of change Washingtonians widely and radically differ. On the question of the speedy enactment of this constitutional amendment I believe that nearly all Washingtonians agree. The fear that Congress will not act quickly upon it and that the justice which it proposes will be long postponed moderates local enthusiasm in respect to it.
This constitutional amendment assumes that the Nation will continue to control its Capital through Congress and asserts that the time has come when the people of the Capital should be represented in that Congress. The 10-miles-square provision of the Constitution set up a peculiar political entity, not a State, not a Territory, under the exclusive control of the Nation. This amendment is supplementary to the 10-miles-square provision. It says, in effect, that after a century of increase and development the Americans collected in the 10 miles square, entitled at all times to every American right and privilege consistent with continued national control of the Capital, are now entitled to representation in the National Government.
It makes Americans of a community of 350,000 people who now politically are aliens. It naturalizes for the purpose of representation in the National Government a city slightly larger than Minneapolis and slightly smaller than New Orleans.
The constitutional provision establishing the 10 miles square is responsible for the monstrous paradox of unrepresentative government at the Capital of the great Republic. This simple constitutional amendment which we propose will correct it.
We are confident that the people of the United States, outside of the District of Columbia, will not confess impotency to make Americans for the purpose of national representation of the residents of the National Capital. Before the joint fiscal committee I submitted a table which showed that every nation in the world except the United States gave to the people of its capital the same national representation as that enjoyed by the people of other cities. Republics like Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, which have copied our Constitution, including the establishment of the national capital in a nation-controlled district, have, as a matter of course, given the people of these Federal districts full representation in the National Government. Is the United States impotent where these Republics are strong? Is the great Republic less democratic, less republican, less consistent in devotion to the principles of representative government than Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico?
The District should be given voting representation in Congress and the Electoral College as a nonsovereign State. Its residents should, like other Americans, have the status of citizens of a State for the purpose of this representation only. The Nation, through Congress, should retain its constitutional power of exclusive legislation over the National District.
If a constitutional amendment is unique which gives to the Capital community some but not all of the rights of citizens of a State, the
constitutional provision concerning the 10 miles square, to which it is supplementary, is even more startlingly unique. It is more unAmerican to deprive a body of Americans of all political and representative rights than it is to deprive them of a part of such rights.
The Americans residing in the District should enjoy every American right and privilege not inconsistent with exclusive national control of the Capital through Congress. Full representation of the District in Congress is obviously consistent with exclusive control of the District by Congress. Such representation is not only consistent, but is clearly equitable and in harmony with American principles of government.
NEED OF NATIONAL REPRESENTATION.
If the Nation recognizes the vital fact of the District's inability to sustain alone the burden of National Capital upbuilding and reaffirms its National Capital financial obligation; and if the National Government, in self-protection, and as the price of its absolutely necessary participation in the cost of National Capital maintenance and development, withholds full statehood from the District and retains in Congress the constitutional exclusive power of legislation, then the District's status should be approximated as closely as possible to that of a State, and all the American rights and privileges should be secured to the people of the District which are consistent with exclusive legislative control of the District by Congress. As taxpayers and potential soldiers of the Nation the Washingtonians are entitled to and should enjoy these rights whether Congress for the Nation retains or surrenders control and power of exclusive legislation in respect to the Capital. Retaining national control in municipal affairs the Nation ought to insist upon Americanizing Washington by placing its people upon the same national footing as other Americans, giving them representation in the House, Senate, and Electoral College, and the status of citizens of a State in relation to the courts of the United States. This action will correct inconsistencies and discriminations which exist in defining the status of the Washingtonian. For example, the District has been pronounced a State (by the courts) under a treaty with France, a construction conferring privileges on aliens (Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 J. S., 258); but not å State under the Constitution whose people can sue in the Federal courts (Hepburn & Dundas v. Elzey, 2 Cranch., 445). The District is a State (in the Constitution) when direct taxes are to be collected, but not a State (in the Constitution) when representatives are apportioned, though the Constitution couples the two things. (Loughborough v. Blake, 5 Wheat., 317.) The Washingtonian needs access on equal terms with other Americans to the Federal courts-the same right to sue in the Federal courts as that enjoyed by the citizen of a State. The District needs to be a State when representatives are apportioned as well as when direct taxes are levied. This amendment causes the Washingtonian to be the citizen of a State not merely when burdens are imposed but sometimes when privileges are conferred.