Honoring William H. Rehnquist, DC Voting Rights Supporter
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September 6, 2005
DC Vote honors Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. Few people in America know that Chief Justice Rehnquist was a staunch supporter of full congressional voting representation for DC.
In June of 1970, Chief Justice Rehnquist served as the U.S. Assistant Attorney General. At that time the movement to bring congressional voting representation and home rule to the District began to heat up. Chief Justice Rehnquist had this to say about DC's denial of democracy:
"The need for an amendment [providing representation for the District] at this late date in our history is too self-evident for further elaboration; continued denial of voting representation from the District of Columbia can no longer be justified."
Recent legal studies indicate that Congress doesn't have to pass a constitutional amendment or make DC a state to give congressional voting representation to the residents of America's capital. Congress has the authority to bring full democracy to Washington, DC, through simple legislation.
Testifying before the House Committee on Government Reform in 2004, legal expert Kenneth Starr noted the constitutionality of the DC Fairness in Representation Act (DC FAIR Act, H.R. 2043) and the No Taxation Without Representation Act of 2005 (S. 195, H.R. 398).
"The use of the word 'state' [in the Constitution] cannot bar Congress from exercising its plenary authority [under the District Clause] to extend the franchise to District residents."
DC Vote honors Chief Justice Rehnquist for his support and his courage to take a principled stand on this issue. In his memory, we will continue working to bring American democracy to America's capital.