Democrats have long sought to expand the number of U.S. states in a quest to amass more political power, particularly by admitting Washington, D.C., as the 51st state.
Congressional proponents of such a measure will not have to wait much longer to cast their votes in light of recently introduced legislation aimed at making the district a state — but the move is attracting plenty of criticism.
“Explicit provisions of the Constitution”
According to reports, the House Oversight Committee approved H.R. 51 last week and the measure is scheduled for a floor vote on Tuesday.
As Breitbart’s Wendell Husebo noted, however, detractors contend that recognizing the District of Columbia as a state would be an unconstitutional move.
The Office of Legal Counsel released a statement in 2007 declaring that “the explicit provisions of the Consitution do not permit Congress to grant congressional representation to the District through legislation.”
Similar opinions were previously expressed under the Reagan and Carter administrations, according to the Heritage Foundation.
Now, the argument is being advanced in a letter recently signed by 22 GOP state attorneys general.
“It does not have the authority”
“If this Congress passes and President Biden signs this Act into law, we will use every legal tool at our disposal to defend the United States Constitution and the rights of our states from this unlawful effort to provide statehood to the District of Columbia,” the letter asserts.
Its signers argue that “not only does Congress lack the authority to create an entirely new state out of the District, but it also does not have the authority to reduce the size of the District to the equivalent of a few federal buildings and surrounding parks.”
Nevertheless, many conservatives believe progressives plan to push forward with the controversial plan in pursuit of two additional reliably Democratic seats in the U.S. Senate. The effort coincides with other proposals, such as eliminating the filibuster and expanding the size of the Supreme Court, which are also widely seen as partisan power grabs.
A handful of Democrats spearheaded a bill designed to add four new justices to the nation’s highest court, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she has “no plans” to bring that measure up for a vote.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the court-packing plot a “direct assault on our nation’s independent judiciary.”