March 16, 2016

Judge Merrick Garland ruled against the Review’s editor (and 19 others)

Back in 1999 Judge Merrick Garland, Obama’s choice for Supreme Court, ruled against your editor and 19 other plaintiffs in a suit seeking full democracy for the capital, then as now a colony of the United States. Because the case involved the powers of Congress, it automatically went to the Supreme Court which rejected considering it.- Sam Smith

Progressive Review, 1999 - A three-judge court has been appointed to hear two law suits dealing with the city's status. One -- filed by 20 DC citizens including your editor -- challenges the lack of real self-government while the other -- backed by leading establishment figures -- seeks only voting rights in Congress. It would still leave DC very much a colony. Should the judges rule against the plaintiffs, the issues can be appealed directly to the Supreme Court.

The 20 citizens' case raises the novel and never-before-litigated issue of whether Congress can deny democracy to the District while residents of every other federal enclave covered by the same constitutional provisions -- such as military bases and the National Institutes of Health -- have a republican form of government and representation in Congress. The case was brought by activist attorney George LaRoche.

The three judge panel is comprised of US Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland and US District Judges Lois Oberdorfer and Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

The existence of two separate suits repeats a long-term pattern of disagreement between the Washington elite and city activisits as to what constitutes an adequate remedy for the city's status problem. As far back as the 1920s, for example, the conservative Washington Star supported congressional voting rights while opposing home rule. In the 1970s, the establishment lined up behind Walter Fauntroy's ultimately unsuccessful voting rights constitutional amendment while local progressives supported statehood.

One reason for this conflict has been that some Washingtonians are content to live under a colonial form of government as long as they have access to the Hill and its national politics. Thus the voting rights approach has appealed to lawyers, lobbyists, and other national wheeler-dealers, while people primarily  regarding DC as a community and a home have sought full self-government.

… The local media, meanwhile, continues to obscure or suppress the fact that the two suits were quite different and not both -- despite repeated misinformation by the Washington Post, Washington Times and WAMU -- primarily voting rights actions. The so-called 20 citizens suit (in which I am one of the plaintiffs) is about full democracy for the city including voting rights while the other action seeks continued colonialism modified only by congressional voting rights.

Washinton Post, 2000 The Adams case and Alexander v. Daley both suffered setbacks Monday when the Supreme Court declined to review them, affirming lower court rulings that denied such congressional representation

George LaRoche - The Three-judge District Court gave no reasons for dismissing the claims in Adams. They gave extensive reasons for dismissing the claims in another case consolidated with Adams (Alexander v. Daley), but those reasons don't go against Adams, since Adams was based on different theories and arguments. We don't know why the Court didn't address our arguments. The Supreme Court's decision means only that they didn't want to take the case, since the only thing they could "affirm" was dismissal of the claims.

1 comment:

Jim Klimaski said...

The three judge court was dismissive of the Adams case brought by the rabble of DC, but they were also aware the arguments Adams brought forth were more troubling to the entrenched powers governing the District. I always chuckle when some of the Alexander plaintiffs bring up the need for Statehood, but never really do anything to advance it.