The gang over at the Plank have been hammering away at this representation-for-D.C. issue, so I thought I'd see how TNR's editorials on the subject dealt with difficulty that any legislation granting the District a voting representative in the House is almost certainly unconstitutional. Here's their entire take on the constitutionality issue:

McConnell and Bush base their opposition on ostensibly constitutional grounds, arguing that the Constitution grants congressional representation only to states, which, of course, the District of Columbia is not. But the legislation, as it's crafted, addresses these concerns--since it provides for expedited judicial review of the bill if it's challenged after becoming law. As Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said in voting for the bill in committee last week, "I have concluded that the constitutionality of this legislation is a close call and is best resolved by the courts and not by this committee."



Er, okay, I guess. So Congress has no responsibility to consider the constitutionality of the legislation it votes on, beyond ensuring that the Supreme Court rules on it ASAP? Really?

And even if it's okay for Congress to punt the question up to the Court, shouldn't an opinion magazine that supports the measure at least take on the (sound-seeming) constitutional arguments against it?

Update: Also, isn't NR's position - a vastly smaller federal district centered around the Mall and Capitol Hill, and then retrocession of the rest of the District to Maryland - a vastly better option? Yes, it's unlikely to happen, since Maryland would have to agree to the transfer, but it seems at least as a plausible a possibility as the Supreme Court signing off on the current proposal.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.