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Statement of Brennan Center President, Michael Waldman, in Support of H.R.51—the Washington, D.C. Admission Act

The Brennan Center urges the House of Representatives and Senate to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act into law.

Published: June 25, 2020

The Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law strongly supports the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Admis­sion Act and encour­ages Members of the House and Senate to vote in support of D.C. State­hood. The over 700,000 resid­ents of Wash­ing­ton, D.C. — the major­ity of whom are people of color—deserve the same right to vote, home rule, and full repres­ent­a­tion in Congress gran­ted to every other Amer­ican.

The Bren­nan Center’s work defend­ing, reform­ing, and revital­iz­ing our systems of demo­cracy and justice—in­clud­ing the urgent fight against disen­fran­chise­ment—re­quires us to support D.C. State­hood. The past few weeks, during which federal, milit­ar­ized police and other forces were able to run rough­shod over the rights of D.C. citizens protest­ing against police brutal­ity and for equal rights, have reminded us all of the consequences of such a system. Peace­ful protest­ors making their voices heard have faced arbit­rary and unequal limit­a­tions on their First Amend­ment rights; this cannot continue. And in the face of the coronavirus crisis and subsequent economic fallout,

D.C. has been refused much of the finan­cial aid that other states were given by Congress, despite the fact that D.C. resid­ents are full parti­cipants in paying federal taxes.

Full voting repres­ent­a­tion in Congress for D.C., as well as the accom­pa­ny­ing equal voice in our demo­cracy, will only be achieved through D.C. State­hood. Congress should address this injustice and elim­in­ate second-class citizen­ship for D.C. resid­ents. We believe that the best path forward is through the Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Admis­sion Act.