As early as next week, the United States Senate could cast a procedural vote that will bring the chamber one step closer to determining whether the District of Columbia should become America’s 51st state. If Republicans are smart on this, they should vote to support the bill and take the political wind out of the sails of opponents. 

For years now, we’ve heard that Republican antipathy for creating a state for D.C. is due to the fact that Republicans oppose having another black representative in Congress. This Republican lawyer believes that the Constitution is clear when it states in Article I that “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States.” The District of Columbia is not a state and therefore not eligible to elect a member to the House of Representatives, as I interpret the Constitution.

But mine is a legal, rather than a political, analysis. From a political standpoint, if Democrats and several Republicans wish to pass legislation creating statehood for D.C., let them. I would equally encourage the president to sign the measure into law. Why? I’m tired of the whining, the “Taxation Without Representation” license plates and the charges of racism leveled against members of my party who believe the Constitution does not provide for the District of Columbia to become a state and seat a member in the House of Representatives.

This is a question best left to the Supreme Court of the United States — the third branch of government and the only one with the authority to interpret the Constitution. This should be a legal rather than political question that should be resolved once and for all. Let the Congress enact legislation creating a state for the District of Columbia, and let’s put this important issue behind us one way or another.