A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

House passes DC congressional voting rights bill

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] passed the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (HR 1905) [bill summary] Thursday, which could increase official House membership for the first time since 1960. The bill, which passed 241-177 [roll call], would make the District of Columbia [official website] a congressional district with full voting rights in the House, and as a compromise with Republicans, add a temporary at-large seat for Utah. Utah came close but fell short of obtaining a new district [PDF backgrounder] after the 2000 census. The future of the bill in the less Democratically-dominated Senate is far from certain, however, and President George W. Bush has threatened a veto [JURIST report], calling the bill unconstitutional.

The District of Columbia currently has a delegate in the House, Eleanor Holmes Norton [official website], who is able to vote in committee and on some amendments, but is not allowed to vote on the final passage of a bill. A February report by the Congressional Research Service flagged the potential unconstitutionality [JURIST report] of any bill granting a House vote for the District, focusing on the language in Article I, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution that the House is to be comprised by the "people of the several States." AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.