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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 5, 2009 / 9 Adar 5769

D.C.'s speed bump: the Constitution

By Jonathan Turley

Turley
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The expected passage this week of legislation to give the District of Columbia a vote in the House is understandably a matter of great celebration for Washington residents. It is far less of a celebratory moment for many constitutional scholars. In passing this bill, Congress will commit a premeditated unconstitutional act of ignoring the clear text and history of the Constitution to create a new form of voting member. For the first time since the founding of the Republic, members will claim the authority to allow non-state representatives of its choosing to vote in Congress.

There is little debate that the voting status of Washington is obnoxious and should be corrected. Nonetheless, the great wrong done to District residents cannot be righted by violating the Constitution. In 1977, Congress proposed an amendment to give Washington full voting rights like a state. It failed. Now, unable to amend the Constitution, Congress seems resolved to simply ignore it.

Under Article I Section 2, the Framers mandated that "the House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states." The term "several states" in this clause has been read by the Supreme Court and supporters of this bill as meaning actual states. The District was created with the express purpose of being a non-state entity.

That should end the debate, but advocates hope that Congress' plenary authority over the District might trump provisions like that Composition Clause - an absurd notion for many constitutional scholars. While the District Clause is part of a relatively minor provision dealing with forts, installations and territories, the Composition Clause is one of the cornerstones for the entire legislative branch. To trump the Composition Clause would be akin to a dingy sinking a battleship.

The Framers' thinking

Although some might find their reasons incomprehensible today, the Founders had reasons for wanting a capital represented by Congress as a whole instead of a single representative. In 1783, Congress was forced to flee Philadelphia by an angry mob of Revolutionary War veterans demanding their long-overdue back pay. When Congress called on state officials to call out the militia, they refused. The Framers were intent on never relying again on any state for their protection. They also did not want any individual member to have the singular honor or the authority to represent the nation's capital. The control and representation of the capital would be shared by all the representatives.

The implication of this compromise was obvious and not uniformly popular at the time. Indeed, no one less than Alexander Hamilton proposed an amendment to guarantee voting rights for the capital's residents. He lost. Others soon came to dislike the arrangement. The original District was a diamond shape (surveyed by George Washington) composed of ceded territory from Virginia and Maryland. Soon after ratification, Virginians chose to "retrocede," or return, to Virginia. Notably, the remaining District residents rejected retroceding to Maryland, choosing the benefits of being capital residents over being conventional constituents.

A destabilizing precedent

Political convenience has overridden constitutional principle. To sell this ill-conceived plan, sponsors resorted to trading a new vote for the "red" state of Utah for a vote for the "blue" District. To their credit, some Utah delegation members denounced the bill as unconstitutional. In doing so, Congress will create a second constitutional problem by creating an "at large" district in Utah (to avoid forcing members to hold special elections for newly configured districts). The result is that Utahans will be the only citizens represented by two House members - their original lawmaker plus an at-large representative - in violation of the constitutional concept of "one man, one vote."

What Congress is about to do is dangerous and destabilizing. In claiming the inherent authority to create a new form of voting member, future Congresses could manipulate the voting rolls by creating new seats for any other territory or reservation. For example, Puerto Rico (with a population of 4 million U.S. citizens) would have equal claim to six seats.

I, and others, have put forward plans that range from retrocession to a constitutional amendment. If our Constitution is a covenant of faith among citizens, it is nothing short of a constitutional sacrilege to change the very structure of Congress to avoid seeking a constitutional amendment. In a nation committed to the rule of law, it is as important how we do something as what we do. The Washington vote legislation is an unworthy means to a worthy end.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. He has testified at the hearings on the D.C. vote in both the House and the Senate. Click here to visit his website. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2009, Jonathan Turley

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