The Supreme Court has declined to hear a case from Washington, D.C., residents over their lack of voting rights in Congress, affirming a lower court ruling that held that D.C. residents are not entitled to voting representation in the House of Representatives.
“Residents of the District of Columbia are the only adult American citizens subject to federal income taxes who lack voting representation in Congress, except for felons in some states,” the plaintiffs told the Supreme Court in a brief earlier this year.
The Supreme Court’s justices indicated that they’d based their ruling on a Supreme Court decision from more than two decades ago that declared that Washington, D.C. residents do not have a constitutional right to a vote in Congress.
The Supreme Court’s action comes amid discussions about making Washington, D.C. a state.
Washington, D.C. is home to more than 700,000 residents––that’s more than the states of Wyoming and Vermont. But D.C. lacks representation in Congress; those who oppose a statehood measure believe it would only advance the Democratic Party’s interests, guaranteeing it two seats on Capitol Hill. Some also say the move would violate the 23rd Amendment, which allows D.C. residents to vote in presidential elections but gives them as much say as the residents of the “least populous State.”
In April, the White House formally declared its support for a measure that would grant D.C. statehood.
“Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy. “Washington, D.C. has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”
The White House called on Congress “to provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.