The lack of representation for the nearly 600,000 residents of Washington, DC is an enduring scandal and shame, a very real betrayal of the principles that led to the American Revolution. Yesterday, the Congress moved closer to erasing this blot when a Senate Committee approved the compromise plan that would give a voting member to DC and an extra voting member to Utah until the next apportionment after the 2010 Census. The vote had only one dissenter - John McCain.
McCain was the only one of them who voted nay, and he gave two reasons. The first was that the proposed compromise that would give D.C. voting rights while giving Utah a fourth seat in Congress was unfair to other fast-growing states. The second was that McCain didn’t want to pass a bill that constitutional scholars are still tussling over “and then have the Supreme Court decide whether or not it’s constitutional.”
This is a problem. What would happen if — a totally random example here — a senator introduced a campaign finance law that, according to many constitutional scholars and the president of the United States, violated the First Amendment? What if the Supreme Court had to decide whether or not the law was constitutional? That would be crazy.
Dave Weigel is a libertarian and I don't necessarily agree with him about McCain-Feingold, but the core idea that Congress can't make a law because the Supreme Court might overturn it would essentially end all lawmaking entirely, wouldn't it?
Because of this technical and entirely bullshitty reason, John McCain told the residents of DC, people he's walked among for 26 years, to go stuff it. What a man of the people.