Statehood for D.C.?

How is that easier or less controversial? As for ease, retrocession requires the consent of Congress and the consent of the Maryland legislature (which does not want a brand new big city squabbling for pieces of the pie), while statehood requires only the consent of Congress. And as for controversy, retrocession isn’t wanted on either side of the border, but statehood is wanted in DC.

If Maryland doesn’t want the city, I wouldn’t oppose a move for statehood. But I would be confused.

An interesting note, on June 26 the House of Representatives voted to admit Washington, D.C. as the 51st state of the Union. Washington, D.C. Admission Act. H.R. 51, 116th Cong. (2020).


It’s not just that Maryland doesn’t want DC. It’s that DC doesn’t want to be part of Maryland. It’s a historic place with a unique history and culture of its own. Shouldn’t the wishes of people living in DC count a thousand times more than those of non-residents who consider them just pawns to slide across a board?

The residents of D.C. don’t have a say in the decision at all…

Well, I mean if the residents of D.C. really don’t want to join Maryland that would be a good reason for Maryland to turn down retrocession. And if the residents of D.C. don’t want statehood, that would be a good reason to not grant them statehood.


But they do want statehood. They’ve been screaming for it forever.

Well, as I wrote before, the residents of D.C. don’t have a direct say in the matter. Wanting statehood isn’t good enough to actually obtain statehood, whereas not wanting statehood is good enough to prevent statehood. D.C. wanting statehood, and Maryland not wanting to absorb D.C., is good enough for me though, as I stated upthread.

Due to politics it is unlikely that the Senate will take up the cause so long as there are at least enough Republicans to sustain a filibuster.


The filibuster rule will be gone forever next time the Dems take the Senate, i.e., January.

Sure. But if the primary argument for statehood is “taxation without representation!” but DC rejects retrocession with a (hypothetical) agreeable Maryland (or Virginia), this argument gets weakened some.

It is a possibility. But I would like to think that it won’t happen, or that it would be vetoed.


That’s sort of an interesting idea, and I admit I had never thought of that, but it does strike me as perhaps a little too cute. The actual text of the 23rd Amendment:

I mean, there’s that “shall” language in there (“the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct”); plus as Little_Nemo points out, merely passing a law would leave open the possibility that some future Congress and Administration could overturn that provision by normal legislation in order to give their preferred candidate three extra electoral votes, potentially deciding a Presidential election. That would be a shocking violation of the “norms” of a democratic republic, so of course it would never happen would happen immediately as soon as it benefited one party cough the Republicans cough to do so.

Note that retrocession to Maryland, even if that was somehow more desirable than statehood, would do absolutely nothing to solve this issue. Either statehood or retrocession would really require subsequently repealing the 23rd.

Perhaps the Democrats could include a provision in the D.C. Statehood Bill (that is passed on a party-line vote by a Democratic Party-controlled House and Senate–which has abolished the filibuster–and signed into law by a Democratic President) saying that “after January 1, 202_ the electors for President and Vice President from the District constituting the seat of Government of the United States that are provided for by the Twenty-third Article of Amendment to the United States Constitution shall be appointed on behalf of the same candidates for President and Vice President as the electors selected by the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth”–thus, after a certain period the new state would get double representation in the Electoral College. That would really motivate the Red States to get on with repealing the 23rd! (There’s no real reason why a constitutional amendment can’t be done reasonably quickly–it doesn’t have to be hours or even days, but it could certainly be done in a matter of a few years. Hell, passage of the 26th Amendment–lowering the voting age to 18–only took 100 days!)

I’m not that concerned. Congress can give those three votes to whoever has the majority in Congress, whatever. That’s like, the opposite of non-democratic. They could also award it to the popular vote. As you point out, the Congress that can add a new state or pass retrocession has the ability to deal with allocation under the 23rd.


As an American, I think this is a fine idea, modulo the issues like that pesky Constitution (but hey, based on the last few years, that appears to be only a series of suggestions).

As a programmer, I dread the thought of all the changes this would require! Yes, PR/DC/GU/VI are on many lists, but not all.

Me too, and then they’d get their representation.

The capital shouldn’t be a residential area. It should be like Vatican City, with just a few handfuls of people who live there, most as caretakers of the federal properties and some security.

While we’re at it can we merge North and South Dakota? I mean do we really need two Dakotas?

And lets merge New England into one state. Do we really need so many tiny states?

And West Virginia back into Virginia, after all they were joined more recently than DC and Maryland.

This is an actual belief (at least in the past) of one Amy Coney Barrett. Who also believed (believes?) that Social Security is unconstitutional.

Honestly, it makes as much sense as merging DC and Maryland. People propose these elaborate maneuvers when it comes to DC voting rights and I never understand why they do so, rather than just give DC representation in Congress.

Why would DC become part of Virginia when it’s current territory came from Maryland? If one is arguing for the disenfranchisement of American citizens, isn’t it incumbent upon the speaker to be fully informed on the issue? In my opinion, voting rights ought to be the default and disenfranchisement the exception.

Making DC a new state, somehow, some way, should be among the very top priorities for a new Democratic-controlled government. Ditto PR, should Puerto Ricans desire. Maybe ditto USVI and Guam.