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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    SammyF wrote: »
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    Stop saying the constitution would need to be amended to remove Congressional power over DC. The US Constitution doesn't say anywhere that DC must be controlled by Congress. DC was created by statute, not by the Constitution.

    Actually, you are completely incorrect. The creation of the District of Columbia, and Congress' absolute control over it, are in the Constitution.

    Article I, Section 8:
    The Congress shall have the Power [...] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

    This is an idea that was expounded upon by James Madison in Federalist Paper No. 43. However, while the Constitution lays the groundwork, it doesn't actually create the district in question; that is done by U.S. Code, specifically the Organic Act of 1801. The District of Columbia is only mentioned in the 23rd Amendment, which gives us the presidential electors for the electoral college.

    Exactly. Art. 1 Sec. 8 just gives Congress the power to create a District, which they may exercise exclusive control over, through law. Just like how the Commerce Clause gives Congress power to pass other types of laws. That doesn't make the Taft-Hartley Act part of the Constitution any more than the creation of the District of Columbia.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    Brian KrakowBrian Krakow Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    shryke wrote: »
    Technically couldn't you just turn DC into a state and shrink the "District" to just encompass the Mall (or whatever the fuck y'all call it) and thus get around that easily?
    Yes.

    Why some people think that altering a state's borders without their consent would not require an amendment but that changing the borders of the federal district would is beyond me.

    Brian Krakow on
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    DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    I'm not sure if the state/senate system fully makes sense anyway. Why does Wyoming get the same amount of Senators as California? I mean, the upper house seems more important, but even though California has more then sixty times the population, Wyoming has just as much influence there.

    That's basically the point of the Senate. All states are represented equally, so the large population states can't run completely roughshod over the interests of the small population states.

    But that's...uhh, stupid. :?

    I mean, if you live in a small population state your vote basically counts more. Interests shouldn't really figure into there, if Wyoming's interests are in the minority...they are in the minority and should be treated as such. I mean, states are mostly just arbitrary borders for the ease of governance and management, some farmer in California probably has the same interests as some farmer in Wyoming, and I guess people in Portland don't really have much more different concerns as people in San Jose. There are of course different inner issues, but aren't those usually debated at local level? There is really no reason for Wyoming to have equal influence in national issues.

    DarkCrawler on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    I'm not sure if the state/senate system fully makes sense anyway. Why does Wyoming get the same amount of Senators as California? I mean, the upper house seems more important, but even though California has more then sixty times the population, Wyoming has just as much influence there.

    That's basically the point of the Senate. All states are represented equally, so the large population states can't run completely roughshod over the interests of the small population states.

    But that's...uhh, stupid. :?

    I mean, if you live in a small population state your vote basically counts more. Interests shouldn't really figure into there, if Wyoming's interests are in the minority...they are in the minority and should be treated as such. I mean, states are mostly just arbitrary borders for the ease of governance and management, some farmer in California probably has the same interests as some farmer in Wyoming, and I guess people in Portland don't really have much more different concerns as people in San Jose. There are of course different inner issues, but aren't those usually debated at local level? There is really no reason for Wyoming to have equal influence in national issues.

    When you study the reasons why the Senate exists, it's clear that having one of the legislative bodies be somewhat anti-majoritarian and obstructionist is not at all stupid. Senators aren't supposed to represent individuals--they represent the states as a whole. That's why they were originally appointed by the states. Each state is equal in the eyes of the republic, so it makes sense that in one of the houses each state is represented equally. The Senate is also supposed to temper the inherent populism of the House of Representatives. Finally, from a completely utilitarian perspective, the Senate's structure was necessary to convince the smaller states to ratify the Constitution.

    There are a lot of dumb things going on in the Senate, but none of them really have to do with the constitutional structure of it.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Well yeah, I can see the historic reasons for it, but I don't see why it has to be like that today. Just feels slightly undemocratic for me. I'm not American so maybe I see things differently. I've never thought of obstructionism as a good thing, at least to the degrees it goes to these days in the United States. And I don't see why each state should be equal either. They have different attributes and contribute to the country in varying numbers. New York should have more power then Rhode Island. On the other hand, each vote should give the same number of political representation, something the current system doesn't do (to the favor of small states).

    DarkCrawler on
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    HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    states are mostly just arbitrary borders for the ease of governance and management

    Except they aren't. They are still semi-independent bodies.

    HamHamJ on
    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    states are mostly just arbitrary borders for the ease of governance and management

    Except they aren't. They are still semi-independent bodies.

    Yeah, I think the concept of federalism is sometimes missed by those who don't really have a good understanding of the US government (not a knock on those people, I know nothing of how representation works in, say, the UK).

    Basically, there are certain powers of government that the states have. And certain powers of government that the federal government has. For the most part, these powers do not overlap. States aren't like municipalities or counties where you might have separate governance but everyone is unified under a powerful national government. States have their own criminal laws and their own civil laws. The state government is much more influential on a person's day-to-day life than the federal government. States have virtually universal police power, while the federal government has extremely limited police powers.

    Given that each state is a semi-automous body, with equal rights and powers compared to every other state, it makes sense that one house of Congress has proportional representation, and one house has equal representation. Representatives represent the interests of their district, which (in theory) contains the same amount of people as every other district. Senators represent the interests of their state as a whole, and as each state has equal power under the federal government, they have equal representation in the Senate.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Europe doesn't have a lot of federations, true.

    DarkCrawler on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I know next to nothing about EU law or individual European governments, but I'd imagine that a US state is more analogous to an EU nation than to any individual provinces/counties/whatever within that nation as far as governmental powers go.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    DarkCrawlerDarkCrawler Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Pretty much. At least in Finland it doesn't matter at all which "state" you come from, the city/general region has much more weight. I'm not even sure if our states are even administrative, everything seems to be done in municipal level. I'd imagine it's much of the same for rest of Europe. Germany seems to be a federation. I'm not sure how much stake Germans put on whether someone is from North Rhine-Westphalia as opposed to Rhineland-Palatinate or something. Don't think it's that important for them either, though. U.S. takes it further then really any other country. It's the only country whose administrative divisions I could comfortably name, including my own.

    DarkCrawler on
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    JeanJean Heartbroken papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Provinces in Canada are very meaningful/important, especially to the french speaking minority which I'm part of. Provinces have control over healthcare and education so they directly impact people's life more. Most people here care more about what happens in Quiébec City than in Ottawa.

    Jean on
    "You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
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    Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Well yeah, I can see the historic reasons for it, but I don't see why it has to be like that today. Just feels slightly undemocratic for me. I'm not American so maybe I see things differently. I've never thought of obstructionism as a good thing, at least to the degrees it goes to these days in the United States. And I don't see why each state should be equal either. They have different attributes and contribute to the country in varying numbers. New York should have more power then Rhode Island. On the other hand, each vote should give the same number of political representation, something the current system doesn't do (to the favor of small states).
    It has to be like that today because a Constitutional amendment changing the makeup of the Senate would require ratification by 3/4 of the states. And I guaranty there are at least 13 smaller states that would never agree to any change in the Senate that would reduce their influence.

    Modern Man on
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