Department of Justice Changes Its Tune on D.C. Voting Rights
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's top lawyer, overruled the opinions of his own lawyers within the Office of Legal Counsel on the question of the constitutionality of giving the District of Columbia voting rights in the House of Representatives, reports The Washington Post. Like the Bush Administration's lawyers two years back, lawyers in Obama's OLC agreed that giving the District voting rights is unconstitutional because the it is not a state. The United States Constitution provides that members of the House must be chosen "by the people of several states," which disqualifies the District.
Holder disagrees, so he sought opinions from other lawyers within the Justice Department, as well as legal scholars. The Solicitor's Office assured Holder that it could defend the constitutionality of a voting rights proposal before the Supreme Court, which convinced him that a voting rights bill would pass constitutional muster. Holder is not alone. Other leaders in the legal community -- including the American Bar Association, former federal appellate judge Kenneth W. Starr and former Justice Department lawyer Viet D. Dinh -- support the bill.
The bill could reach the full House for a vote by May.Sphere: Related Content
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 1, 2009
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