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has historically required the fulfillment of three criteria prior to admission. These criteria are:
That the inhabitants of the proposed new state are imbued with and are sympathetic toward the principles
same time carry its share of the cost of the Federal
Actually, consideration of the traditional criteria for
statehood and determination of the state's readiness to enter the
Union are not constitutionally required; only the guarantee of a republican form of government, is constitutionally mandated:29 "[W]hen a new political entity is being considered for admission to the Union, Congress has •the duty to examine the proposed State
Constitution to guarantee the Federal Constitutional requirement
,30 of republicanism." Since District of Columbia voters have
already ratified their constitution, the only act- remaining for
28H.R. Rep. No. 624, 85th Cong. 20 Sess., reprinted in 1958 U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News 2933, 2943.
29u.s. Const. art. IV, $3 cl. 1.
Congress before passage of a statehood bill is to certify that
the constitution is republican in form.
The second question is:
Must the state of Maryland consent
to District of Columbia statehood.
The short answer is probably
not. The District of Columbia originally was established in 1791 on land ceded by Maryland and Virginia. The land that was
donated by Virginia was subsequently retroceded in 1846. After 1846, the District was located wholly on land ceded by Maryland.
Article IV, S3, cl. 1 of the United States Constitution provides
that "no new State shall be formed or erected within the
Jurisdiction of any other state. ..
without the consent of the
legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress." This limitation of Congressional power to admit states has been relevant to the admission of four states, Maine, West Virginia,
Kentucky and Vermont.
West Virginia was granted its statehood without the consent of Virginia. Virginia seceded. from the Union in 1861; thereafter, "statehood leaders in western Virginia declared the secession of Virginia 'void' and proceeded to reorganize the 'government' of Virginia for the exclusive purpose of expediting
the indispensable authorization for separation.
proceeded to legitimize the acts of the 'reorganized government'
of Virginia by admitting West Virginia, in 1863, as the 35th State of the Union..31
The admission of West Virginia could be
311d. at 320.
viewed as a congressional act that stretched the language of the Constitution to unprecedented limits. Thus, there is precedent for admitting the District of Columbia into statehood without the consent of Maryland. Some may suggest that the more prudent
course would be to seek the consent of Maryland.
could argue that when Maryland ceded land to the federal government, that it relinquished all rights over that land.
Moreover, one could further argue that the District of Columbia
is not within the "jurisdiction of any other state"; therefore, permission from Maryland to become a state would not be
District of Columbia statehood could be viewed as a.
congressional grant of federal land to the new state upon its
admission into the Union.
A third question is:
What will become of the 23rd Amendment
to the U.S. Constitution if the District becomes a state?
Ostensibly, this question leads to the dilemma of whether the, 23rd Amendment necessitatęs a constitutional amendment to properly facilitate District of Columbia statehood. This issue i.
32The 23rd Amendment provides: Section-1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a state, but in no event more than the least populous state; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the states, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by the state; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
District of Columbia is a special case, however, because it is an entity explicitly recognized and provided for in the
A change in the status of the District from that
set out in the Constitution to that of statehood must change the
significance of the Constitutional language dealing with the
District. The ultimate question becomes whether that change must occur explicitly via constitutional amendment, or whether it
might take effect by implication.
There is no minimum size for
the District set out in the Constitution; there is merely a
provision stating that the District should be no larger than 10
Since the proposed state constitution would merely reduce the size of the District, said District, as defined in the Constitution, would remain intact as a constitutional entity. The proposed state constitution would merely remove all residents
(voters) from the District and place them within the borders of a
It is difficult to see how this could be considered an
attempt to "amend" the U.S. Constitution.
Repeal of the 23rd
Amendment is also an option.
The fourth concern centers on the question: Can Congress
impose limitations on the District as a condition for admission
as a state, and if so, what kind of limitations?
The answer to
this question, unlike most arising from the issue of statehood for the District, is fairly straightforward, primarily because
there is judicial precedent on point. Congressional "conditions" on admission to statehood have appeared in the past and have generated some constitutional challenges. These cases indicate that Congress may impose whatever conditions on admission that it
deems wise, but that the binding effect of those "conditions" may
be severely limited or non-existent after statehood is achieved, depending upon the substantive nature of the restrictions.
33 In Coyle v. Oklahoma, the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906,
had provided for admission of Oklahoma to the Union on condition
that the state capital not be moved from Guthrie to Oklahoma City
After Oklahoma's admission to the Union, the state
passed a law providing for removal of the state capital to
Oklahoma City in 1910.
The issue in the case was whether
Oklahoma could be bound by the conditions in the Enabling Statute
The Court distinguished th ee types of "conditions" that might be placed upon admission.ço statehood. First, that which is satisfied upon admission: that is, binding the admittee onlyä. until it has achieved statehood. A demand that the proposed
state constitution conform to certain congressional requirements
at the time of admission would be such a condition.
there is the condition that is intended by Congress to bind the
state at a future time and which is within the scope of the
conceded powers of Congress over the subject. Thirdly, Congress
33221 u.s. 559 (1910).