Washington, D.C. Retrocession: Ensuring Representation for America’s Capital

By Charles Henry ’26

Charles Henry ’26

The District of Columbia, commonly known as Washington, D.C., is the seat of the United States federal government and is home to around 670,000 Americans. Washington, D.C. was created by Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which established the District in territory appropriated from Maryland and Virginia. 

Uncle Sam keeps D.C. on a leash; the federal government directly administers D.C., meaning that Congress has the unique power to override any decision made by the local government. Additionally, D.C. residents could not vote in federal elections until the ratification of the 23rd Amendment in 1961, which granted the District three Electoral College votes in presidential elections. However, D.C. residents remain unrepresented in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the primary federal law making institutions. 

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The Freedom to Vote Act: Saving our Democracy

Owen Labruna ’24

Owen Labruna ’24

On March 25th 2021, only four and a half months after the 2020 election, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law SB 202, a bill designed to limit the vote in a politically contentious state through restricting early voting and vote by mail; processes often used by communities of color. This bill is one of hundreds introduced in the state legislatures in almost every state. These bills will only weaken our increasingly fragile democracy, which like all representative democracies, is dependent upon a voter base that reflects the population. With states and local governments enacting a myriad of often contradictory policies, only Congress possesses the ability to fully protect the right to vote and prevent further backsliding of our democratic process. Consequently, it is imperative that Congress pass the Freedom to Vote Act, exercising its right under Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution to enact laws governing federal elections. 

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America’s Empty Promise

Noah Albanese ’24

Noah Albanese ’24

Most Americans are aware of the Plessy V. Ferguson Supreme Court case, however many are not familiar with the Insular cases, which were decided by the same Supreme Court justices. The Insular cases were a series of Supreme Court cases from the early 20th century which determined the constitutional rights of those who live in United States territories. Currently, the United States territories are composed of Puerto Rico, the American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S Virgin Islands. In these cases, the courts concluded that Americans living in American territories are not granted automatic citizenship and that Congress has the authority to grant citizenship to these territories. Although there have been several improvements to their conditions, these cases have yet to be overturned; in some of the American territories, citizenship continues to not be an automatic right. 

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