• Keyden Smith-Herold

Washington D.C. Statehood Is a Violation of America’s Founding Principles

An aerial view of Washington, D.C. | Photo: Library of Congress (LOC)

The decades-long battle to make Washington D.C. a state will once again reach the halls of Congress later today, where the U.S. House is set to vote on the revitalized bill. Proponents of D.C. statehood repeat the mantra of our nation’s capital “no taxation without representation”, alluding to the lack of voting representation the city has in the U.S. Congress.

The fight to make Washington D.C. a state is blatantly political. Those who argue for the passage of this bill are masquerading this fight as a matter of “justice”, when in actuality, it all boils down to politics.

Let’s go over a simple thought experiment you can ask those who favor the district becoming a state. Ask them whether or not they would be in favor of making D.C. a part of Maryland. This will surely solve the problem of gaining voting representation in both the House and Senate.

Those in favor of D.C. statehood will likely reject this offer. Why? Because the Democrats want two non-competitive U.S. Senate seats—as D.C is one of the most liberal places in the entire country. If D.C. were a Republican city, the left would surely advocate against statehood.

Let’s be honest. That argument, even if true, is a bad one for conservatives to make as it sounds like the right is only against D.C. statehood because it doesn’t benefit them. There is a bigger, overarching reason why our nation’s capital must never become a state— D.C. statehood is a glaring violation of America’s founding principles.

The U.S. Constitution itself states the need for a federal district in direct control of Congress to “exercise exclusive legislation in all Cases whatsoever…”. The Constitution also notes that this federal district should not exceed 100 square miles (ten miles squared), and that it must be the seat of the U.S. government. All clauses are currently being upheld.

Congress, of course, cannot exercise complete control over this district if D.C. were to become its own state. Therefore, many argue that making Washington into a state without passing a constitutional amendment would be unconstitutional in itself. If this bill passes, expect a nasty legal fight in the courts.

President James Madison also discussed the need of an independent “federal district”, under the sole jurisdiction of Congress and completely separate from the authority of a single state.

Imagine the amount of power a state would have if it were to house the majority of our current federal government, intelligence agencies, Congress, the White House, State Department, IRS, Federal Reserve, executive departments, lobbying firms, and a plethora of other agencies.

Washington D.C.’s hypothetical governor would have tremendous influence over all of these industries. Moreover, our federal government would simply morph into an immensely powerful state government, with one state having much more influence and control over the other 50.

Remember, the regulatory agencies housed within Washington currently oversee and regulate all of the states. This power would be dangerous to our Republic.

Additionally, D.C. will most likely have a newly formed state House and Senate—as most states have a separate bicameral legislature. This new assembly could theoretically place regulations on these now state agencies, such as the FBI, and intrude on the independence of what used to be a self-sustaining federal government.

Instead of paying federal taxes, we would be paying taxes to the 51st state, where the newly formed state assembly and gubernatorial branch can disperse these funds as they please.

Some Democrats then came up with a lackluster response to this accusation, by excluding Capitol Hill from this new, hypothetical state. This does not address constitutionality and the fact that the majority of the current federal government would still be housed in the district.

Nonetheless, it does not erase the fact that D.C. statehood would still violate America’s founding principles.

No such state should be able to hold that amount of influence. Our founders knew the dangers of centralized power all too well. The lack of D.C. statehood is not to suppress the residents who live there. It’s exactly the opposite. An independent Washington D.C. safeguards our nation from the dangers of an overreaching and pervasive government.


Keyden Smith-Herold is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Analytical