Top Legal Expert: Constitutional Amendment Needed for DC Statehood

Top Legal Expert: Constitutional Amendment Needed for DC Statehood map of washington dc with red pushpin in it (Dreamstime)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Tuesday, 25 May 2021 11:31 AM

A top legal expert has warned there are "grave constitutional concerns" in the move to make Washington, D.C., a state.

Zack Smith, legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said: "Well, certainly, I think this push is coming on so quickly because it certainly seems to be for partisan advantage. There are two potentially Democratic senators up for grabs if D.C. becomes a state."

Smith made his comments in late April during an interview with EWTN.

He said passage of the bill presents a "grave constitutional concern with the District of Columbia becoming a state in this manner."

"I’m disappointed that President (Joe) Biden is supporting this push for D.C. statehood by simple legislation," he said. "Historically, this has been a bipartisan consensus. Both Republican and Democratic justice departments that looked at the issue have agreed that in order for the District of Columbia to become our nation’s 51st state, a constitutional amendment would be needed. And, so to see the president, members of the House, many members of the Senate on the Democratic side supporting the District of Columbia becoming a state by simple legislation is very disappointing.

"The name of the new state would be state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, so that the bulk of the current district could become our nation’s 51st state with the District of Columbia, the seat of our federal government, essentially being shrunk to a small area encompassing the Capitol building, the White House, the National Mall and just few other buildings – which is something, frankly, that wasn’t envisioned by our founding fathers.

"Well, I think our founding fathers certainly never envisioned the District of Columbia becoming a state. The danger for our country is really that transforming the District of Columbia into our 51st state would really upset the fundamental balance of our federal system of government."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sent a letter to Biden and congressional leaders, warning that passing the "Washington, D.C. Admission Act" is unconstitutional, unsound policy, and would create a super-state with unrivaled power.

"Our founding fathers explicitly set aside a federal district to serve as the seat of government. It was never intended to operate as a state, and for good reason," Paxton said. "If Washington D.C. unlawfully becomes a state, which is what many Democrats are proposing now, it will not join the others in equal standing. Rather, it will create a super-state that has privilege and primacy over all others, which it will most likely use to promote policies that harm Texas. I will use every legal tool available to stop hyper-partisans and elites in D.C. from undermining our nation’s 50 states and granting themselves unlawful authority."

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