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Constitutionality of the D.C. House Voting Rights Act of 2009

Date of Issuance:

The constitutionality of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 presents a close question, but the balance tips in favor of finding the Act constitutional.

Neither the text of the Constitution nor the analysis of applicable precedent clearly resolves the question of whether Congress may confer House voting rights on D.C. residents by legislation.

In the absence of a clear constitutional prohibition, the Constitution does not require denying the most basic rights in a democracy—the right to elect representation in the legislature and therefore to self-governance—to U.S. citizens who happen to be residents of the District of Columbia.

Updated December 21, 2020