The Supreme Court Monday ruled against an effort to give District of Columbia residents a voting member in the House of Representatives, The Washington Post reports.
Eleven Washingtonians had brought a novel legal theory to the perennial question of representation for those in the nation’s capital, arguing in part that the Constitution already gives Congress the power to grant voting representation in the House. The city is currently represented in the House by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a nonvoting Democrat.
“Because voting is a fundamental right and Congress has conferred that right on thousands of individuals who are not state residents – Applicants argue that voting representation must be extended to District residents,” the group’s attorney wrote. “Applicants’ suit thus challenged their denial of access to this fundamental right as a violation of their equal protection, due process, and first amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.”
The lower court’s decision held that residents of the District are not entitled to voting representation in the House of Representatives.
“We recognize that District residents’ lack of the congressional franchise is viewed by many, even most, as deeply unjust, and we have given each aspect of Plaintiffs’ claims most serious consideration, but our ruling today is compelled by precedent and by the Constitution itself,” the lower-court panel’s opinion reads.