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"You will recall, the Committee on the Judiciary succeeded in bringing House Joint Resolution 554 to the States for ratification in 1978. It is with great pride that I note that the State Legislature of New Jersey was the first to ratify this amendment back on September 11, 1978. Unfortunately, only 15 other States had demonstrated the same wisdom by the end of the 7-year ratification period demanded by the amendment.
“The proposed amendment was, nonetheless, a modest measure in that it would not have resulted in full self-determination for District residents. Under the proposal, the District would, at last, have had its full complement of voting representation in both Houses, although Congress would have continued exclusive control over the city, subject to the limited home rule it currently enjoys.
“The irony confronting our great democracy is that its foundation predicate, the electoral participation of its citizenry, was jealously withheld from the overwhelming majority of its citizens until the 20th century. For example, until relatively recently, the fundamental right to vote was denied on the basis of race and sex; furthermore, various procedural devices, such as the poll tax and age have been used to deny the franchise as well.
“Through various constitutional and statutory provisions, Congress has removed these arbitrary barriers to the franchise for all citizens. Yet, those residing in the Nation's Capital face a unique impediment; their residency here means they are denied the selfdetermination enjoyed by all other Americans.
“During congressional debate on House Joint Resolution 554 in 1978, we learned that the United States and Brazil were the only nations in the world, with popularly elected national legislatures, to deny full voting representation in its legislature to the citizens of its capital city. Mr. Chairman, as you pointed out during this subcommittee's 1985 hearings on statehood for the District, the United States now has the dubious distinction as the only nation denying such representation. On May 8, 1985, the Congress of Brazil unanimously adopted a constitutional amendment which, among other things, included a provision of representation for citizens of the capital city in their national congress.
"Mr. Chairman, you and I have dedicated our public and private lives to assuring that the guarantees of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are enjoyed by all citizens of these United States. I am confident the Constitution does not prohibit these guarantees to citizens residing in the District of Columbia. Nor does it require that the District follow anything other than the ordinary procedures for effectuating statehood. I believe the Constitution demands that full self-determination be extended to these citizens now.
“This Nation will commemorate the bicentennial of the Constitution in 1987. I join with you, Mr. Chairman, in the reaffirmation of that great document. What better celebration than the commitment of this Congress to extend self-determination to all of its citizens at last.'
[The supplemental prepared statement of Mr. Rodino follows:)
STATEMENT OF PETER W. RODINO, JR.
MR. CHAIRMAN, AS YOU KNOW, I ENTHUSIASTICALLY ACCEPTED YOUR INVITATION TO SPEAK ON THE SUBJECT OF ADMISSION OF THE DIsTRICT TO THE UNION AS THE 51ST STATE, "NEW COLUMBIA". I WANTED TO APPEAR BECAUSE THE FAILURE OF THIS CONGRESS TO GRANT FULL CITIZENSHIP TO THE RESIDENTS OF THE DISTRICT IS À GROSS INEQUITY
AND IN CONFLICT WITH THE FUNDAMENTAL PRECEPTS OF OUR DEMOCRACY
WHICH ARE THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND TO SELF-DETERMINATION.
THE COMMITTEE HAS ASKED ME TO ADDRESS SEVERAL POINTS OF
LAW WHICH DO NOT NECESSARILY RISE TO A CONSTITUTIONAL LEVEL, BUT
WILL NO DOUBT BE RAISED AS POSSIBLE IMPEDIMENTS TO ANY CHANGE IN
THE DISTRICT'S STATUS. MY RESPONSES TO THOSE POINTS ARE SET FORTH IN A SUPPLEMENTAL STATEMENT WHICH I ASK BE MADE A PART OF
THE COMMITTEE'S RECORD. I WOULD LIKE TO FOCUS MY REMARKS TODAY ON WHAT I BELIEVE IS THE COMPELLING CASE FOR DISTRICT STATEHOOD.
THIS COMMITTEE IS WELL AWARE THAT THE SPECIAL STATUS OF THE DISTRICT HAS LED A NUMBER OF LEGAL SCHOLARS TO CONCLUDE THAT THERE ARE THREE WAYS TO GRANT VOTING REPRESENTATION TO Dis
TRICT RESIDENTS :
RETROCESSION, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, OR
YOU WILL RECALL, THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY SUCCEEDED IN BRINGING H.J. Res. 554 TO THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION IN 1978. IT IS WITH GREAT PRIDE THAT I NOTE THAT THE STATE LEGISLATURE OF NEW JERSEY WAS THE FIRST TO RATIFY THIS AMENDMENT (SEPTEMBER 11, 1978). UNFORTUNATELY, ONLY 15 OTHER STATES HAD
DEMONSTRATED THE SAME WISDOM BY THE END OF THE SEVEN-YEAR RATIFI•
CATION PERIOD DEMANDED BY THE AMENDMENT.
THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT WAS, NONETHELESS, A MODEST MEAS
URE IN THAT IT WOULD NOT HAVE RESULTED IN FULL SELF-DETERMINATION
FOR DISTRICT RESIDENTS.
UNDER THE PROPOSAL, THE DISTRICT WOULD,
AT LAST, HAVE HAD ITS FULL COMPLEMENT OF VOTING REPRESENTATION IN
BOTH-HOUSES; AL THOUGH CONGRESS. WOULD HAVE CONTINUED EXCLUSIVE CONTROL OVER THE CITY, SUBJECT TO THE LIMITED "HOME RULE" IT CUR
TIVELY RECENTLY, THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO VOTE WAS DENIED ON THE
BASIS OF RACE AND SEX;. FURTHERMORE, VARIOUS PROCEDURAL DEVICES,
SUCH AS THE POLL TAX AND AGE HAVE BEEN USED TO DENY THE FRANCHISE
THROUGH VARIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY PROVISIONS, CONGRESS HAS REMOVED THESE ARBITRARY BARRIERS TO THE FRANCHISE FOR ALL CITIZENS. YET, THOSE RESIDING IN THE NATION'S
CAPITAL FACE A UNIQUE IMPEDIMENT ;
THEIR RESIDENCY HERE MEANS
THEY ARE DENIED THE SELF-DETERMINATION ENJOYED BY ALL OTHER
DURING CONGRESSIONAL DEBATE ON H. J.Res. 554 IN 1978, WE LEARNED THAT THE UNITED STATES AND BRAZIL WERE THE ONLY NATIONS
IN THE WORLD, WITH POPULARLY ELECTED NATIONAL LEGISLATURES, TO
DENY FULL VOTING REPRESENTATION IN ITS LEGISLATURE TO THE CITI
ZENS OF ITS CAPITAL CITY.
MR. CHAIRMAN, AS YOU POINTED OUT
DURING THIS SUBCOMMITTEE's 1985 HEARINGS ON STATEHOOD FOR THE
DISTRICT, THE UNITED STATES NOW HAS THE DUBIOUS DISTINCTION AS
WHICH, AMONG OTHER THINGS, INCLUDED A PROVISION OF REPRESENTATION
FOR CITIZENS OF THE CAPITAL CITY IN THEIR NATIONAL CONGRESS.
MR. CHAIRMAN, YOU AND I HAVE DEDICATED OUR PUBLIC AND
PRIVATE LIVES TO ASSURING THAT THE GUARANTEES OF LIFE, LIBERTY
AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS ARE ENJOYED BY ALL CITIZENS OF THESE
UNITED STATES. I AM CONFIDENT THE CONSTITUTION DOES NOT PROHIBIT THESE GUARANTEES TO CITIZENS RESIDING IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NOR DOES IT REQUIRE THAT THE DISTRICT FOLLOW ANYTHING OTHEF. THAN THE ORDINARY PROCEDURES FOR EFFECTUATING STATEHOOD.
I BE LIEVE THE CONSTITUTION DEMANDS THAT FULL SELF-DETERMINATION BE
EXTENDED TO THESE CITIZENS NOW.
THIS NATION WILL COMMEMORATE THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE CONSTITUTION IN 1987. I JOIN WITH YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN, IN THE
REAFFIRMATION OF THAT GREAT DOCUMENT. WHAT BETTER CELEBRATION
THAN THE COMMITMENT OF THIS CONGRESS TO EXTEND SELF-DETERMINATION
TO ALL OF ITS CITIZENS AT LAST.
PETER W. RODINO, JR.
MR. CHAIRMAN, YOU HAVE ASKED ME TO ADDRESS A NUMBER OF
LEGAL ISSUES WHICH MAY BE RAISED DURING DEBATE ON PROPOSED LE6°
ISLATION MAKING THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THE 51ST STATE. As I HAVE NOTED EARLIER, THE PROPOSAL EMBODIED IN H.R. 325 - TO CREATE A STATE OUT OF THE NONFEDERAL LAND IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
IS THE PREFERRED APPROACH TO GUARANTEE FULL SELF-DETERMINATION
FOR THE CITIZENS OF WASHINGTON, D.C...
A NARROW READING OF THE VARIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL PROVI•
SIONS WHICH ADDRESS VOTING REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE
SEEM TO LIMIT SUCH REPRESENTATION TO THE SEVERAL STATES OF THE
UNITED STATES. ARTICLE I, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 1, STATES, “THE