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may attempt to enforce a restriction which operates to limit the

powers of the new state with respect to matters which would

34 otherwise be exclusively within the sphere of state power.

The first type of condition presents no real constitutional


Clearly, Congress may approve or reject admission to

statehood for any reason it sees fit.

If Congress does not

approve of a proposed state constitution, it may clearly so

inform the potential state, and condition admission upon a state constitution that meets its approval. After statehood is

achieved, however, the sovereign state has full authority to

change its constitution as it sees fit, subject to the

restrictions of the federal constitution.

Such changes could

include removal of the changes demanded by Congress as conditions

to admission.

The constitutional issue arises when Congress attempts to bind the new state to the conditions for statehood after 'it has achieved that status. The "equal footing doctrine" provides that the states admitted to the Union subsequent to the approval of s.

the federal constitution are to be entities of equal status with

the original thirteen states. Article IV, $3 of the federal constitution grants Congress the authority to admit new states to the Union. The varying powers and authority of "states" within the federal framework are defined by the federal constitution.

Were Congress permitted to exact permanently binding restrictions

341d. at 568.

on state authority as a condition for admission to the Union, the

relationship between Congress and all states admitted after the

original thirteen would be ultimately determined, not by the

Constitution, but by Congress itself. Such a situation would fly in the face of the clear intent of the framers.


Thus, any congressional restrictions or expansion of state

authority in its statehood enabling acts cannot bind the state

under Congress' Article IV, $3 authority to admit new states. Congress, however, wields powers under the Constitution, pursuant to which it can legislate with respect to the states.

If a conditional admission to statehood is to be binding in the

future, it must be done pursuant to the constitutional

legislative powers granted to Congress over all states.


may, therefore, include in an enabling act conditions-relating

only to matters within its sphere of powers, such as regulation of interstate commerce and disposition of public lands.' 'Such conditions take their binding effect from Congress' legislative power over the states, not-from an extortion of conditions for s.

36 statehood.

The fifth and final question is: Can the Congress rewrite

the proposed Constitution submitted by the District? -Congress

cannot rewrite the proposed constitution and approve statehood on

that basis without first having the District explicitly approve


'Id. at 566-67. 361d. at 570.

the changes.

Such a procedure (congressional rewriting followed

by an approval by local voters) would be a reverse of the normal

procedure in which a proposed constitution is drafted by the

state, approved by local voters and then by Congress.

While the

reverse procedure seems constitutional per se, one could imagine

that if Congress can rewrite parts of a state constitution, it

may, in effect, write such a constitution in its entirety.


a situation, it seems, would conflict with the notion that a

people should be able to form its own government.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Constitutional path to statehood

is not cluttered.

Furthermore, the District of Columbia

residents have shown their devotion to the three customary

criteria for statehood. They have evidenced their loyalty to the principles of democracy in their voting records. Even though residents were only extended the franchise as recently as 1961, 60.7 percent of the registered voters actually voted in the

37 Presidential election of 1980... The fact that residents of the

District of Columbia are seeking to become a state and to obtaini. the same rights of citizenship as other United States citizens enjoy, provides ample support for their belief in the democratic

principles of this nation.

The long history of the quest for statehood for the District of Columbia shows support for the democratic form of government,


'Statistical Abstract of the United States, 253 (105th ed., 1985).

as well as its fulfillment of the second requirement of statehood showing a continued desire by residents for statehood.

The third qualification for statehood is two-fold. First, a

proposed state must have

"sufficient resources" to support

statehood and to make appropriate contributions to the federal


government. "The city's population was 626,000 in mid 1985,... up 1,000 from a year earlier.... Under the Constitution, a minimum of 60,000 free inhabitants is the number required for admission. According to the 1980 Census, the District of

39 Columbia was larger than four other states in the Union. "The resources which (are) thought to be necessary to sustain a State government include: human, natural, individual, commercial and agricultural elements... 40 Economically, the District has two major

activities that provide it with income. The first is the federal

civil service, which is the largest employer in the area. The "second largest source of income derives from the millions of tourists who visit the District: each year. The taxes


currently paid by District •residents to the federal government

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manifestly illustrate the strong ability of such residents to

carry their share of the cost of the Federal Government.

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Swashington Post, Jan. 20, 1986 at Bi, col. a. 39

statistical Abstract of the United States, 11 (105th ed., 1985).

40 Equal Citizenship, supra note 26 at 358.

4129 Encyclopedia Brittanica, Washington, D.C. 724, 730 (1985).

Residents of the District of Columbia pay more federal taxes than

eleven other states. Moreover, the per capita tax payment in the District is higher than forty-nine of the present states.


Under the discretion of Congress, many proposed states have

waited decades before entering the Union.

The usual reason for

delay has been that congress has decided that the proposed state

is not "ready for statehood".

The people by their activities and

the peculiar nature and history of the District of Columbia

demonstrate the distinct readiness for representation.

Furthermore, "the purpose for which the Federal District was

created to enable Congress to have exclusive jurisdiction over its surroundings is not incompatible with statehood for the people who reside in the nation's Capital.. 43 Granting the District of Columbia statehood would resolve the unequal

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citizenship status that residents have suffered since the inception of the District. I cite the most glaring inequities: Residents of the District did not even gain the right to vote in the Presidential elections .until 1961 with the adoption of the i. twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution. District residents are not yet entitled to a delegate who may

vote on the floor of Congress.

Although citizens of the District

of Columbia have elected, by popular vote, one representative to the House since 1971, this representative, nonetheless, can only

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