ICYMI: Nearly Forty Constitutional Law Scholars Release Letter to Congressional Leadership Affirming D.C. Statehood is Constitutional
Washington, D.C. — Today, nearly 40 renowned legal and constitutional scholars sent a letter to Congressional leaders decisively concluding that D.C. statehood is constitutional. NBC News wrote exclusively about the letter here, saying “the experts are vouching for the constitutionality of D.C. statehood and pushing back against criticisms that stand in its way.”
In the letter, leading legal experts evaluated the three primary constitutional clauses at play in the statehood debate — the Admissions Clause, the District Clause, and the Twenty-Third Amendment — finding that there are no constitutional barriers to the passage of the Washington, D.C. Admissions Act (H.R. 51) and D.C. statehood. Signatories include Caroline Fredrickson, Leah Litman, Erwin Chemerinsky, Mark Tushnet, Jessica Bullman-Pozen, Franita Tolson, and Laurence H. Tribe, among other legal experts, professors and scholars from Harvard University, U.C. Berkeley, University of Chicago, Georgetown and more.
The full text of the letter and list of signers can be found here.
Stasha Rhodes, Campaign Director of 51 for 51, responded:
“This letter confirms what we have always known: D.C. statehood is entirely constitutional. Opponents of statehood hide behind the Constitution to keep the 700,000, mostly Black and Brown, residents of D.C. from equal voting representation in our government — their shield is gone. When the nation’s leading constitutional scholars come together to affirm that statehood is constitutional, we need to listen. The arguments against statehood are purely political and rooted in a deep desire to suppress Black voices and political power. Now, the only thing standing in the way of D.C. statehood is the filibuster and a lack of courage to act.”
Greg Sargent, Opinion Columnist at the Washington Post also added:
“Whether it’s D.C. statehood, or reforming the filibuster crippling legislative action to address big public problems, or safeguarding voting rights against escalating restrictions of them, Democrats have a tight window for undertaking major rebalancing reforms. And act they must.”
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51 for 51 is a coalition of D.C.-based and national groups committed to equal representation for the over 700,000 D.C. residents who remain locked out of our democracy. The coalition of 20 progressive groups believe American citizens living in the District deserve a voice in Congress and control over their own local laws. Already, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Senators Warren, Markey, Gillibrand and Hickenlooper have endorsed 51 for 51’s proposed path to statehood.