Dismissal of D.C. Statehood Gets a Double Fist-Pump
||Wednesday, August 22, 2012
We reported yesterday that delegates to the Republican National Convention adopted an amendment to its official platform formally opposing statehood for the District of Columbia. No surprise there—the GOP has long opposed D.C. statehood and lesser forms of autonomy—but we thought you might want to know a bit more about the dreary-voiced delegate who pushed the measure.
It's James Bopp, an Indiana lawyer who represents numerous prominent conservative causes and, until his time as a GOP delegate runs out at the end of the month, a mainstay of Republican conventions and their preceding platform meetings.
Bopp has represented dozens of major right-wing organizations, but his biggest coup undoubtedly was the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 case that upended federal election rules and unleashed a constant flow of corporate money into campaigns.
And the other clients listed on Bopp's résumé constitute a veritable rogues' gallery of conservative causes, including the National Right to Life Committee, Focus on the Family, Christian Broadcasting Network, Club for Growth, Traditional Values Coalition and the National Organization for Marriage. In 2006, the American Bar Association Journal called Bopp "perhaps the most prominent lawyer in the country in campaign finance and election law, especially as the go-to-guy for conservative religious groups wanting to work within the system, but work it for sure."
As a Republican delegate, Bopp's power seems to draw from his legal expertise as well as his ability to drone on in a magnificently dull and bureaucratic tone. Here's how he introduced his anti-statehood amendment yesterday:
"Historically, our Republican platform has opposed statehood for the District of Columbia. And that plain statement is in the subordinate clause of beginning at line 20." (Editor's note: I had to slap myself in the face several times to prevent myself from dozing off during those two sentences.)
In shooting down D.C. Republicans' proposal for the Republican platform to include not statehood but the creation of a voting member of the House of Representatives, Bopp said that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton's non-voting seat was sufficient. He also suggested that the District's concerns are represented by the entirety of the federal government, which he dismissed as an outgrowth of the Democratic Party. "So they have plenty of representation in Congress," Bopp said. Apparently, there was no one in the room available to remind Bopp that many D.C. residents don't actually work for the federal government.
But, whatever. The platform committee overwhelmingly adopted Bopp's measure, leading to the best part of yesterday's otherwise drab proceeding. Skip to about 1:40 in the video below as Bopp's amendment gets the OK and watch for his reaction:
A double fist-pump for for denying D.C. voting rights.