Taxation Without Representation in the District

There was a great op-ed in the New York Times today explaining the historical peculiarities of why the District doesn’t have a vote in Congress – effectively creating taxation without representation in the nation’s capital.

DC Vote License Plate

The occasion for the op-ed is the 50th anniversary today of the ratification of the 23rd amendment, which finally gave residents of D.C. the right to vote in presidential elections. (Yes, it took a Constitutional amendment!)

It seems strange that a city so consumed with politics – and with a population greater than the state of Wyoming – didn’t get the opportunity to vote for president until the election of 1964.

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The District’s Rosa Parks

An African-American woman tries to sit in a seat on public transportation implicitly reserved for whites only. She refuses to get up when ordered to move, and is forcibly evicted by the police.

Her case draws national attention, and eventually causes the Supreme Court to confront the issue of racial segregation.

Rosa Parks, by Marshall D. Rumbaugh, 1983
Rosa Parks by Marshall D. Rumbaugh at The National Portrait Gallery

If you’re thinking of Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama, you’re about a hundred years too late.

I’m talking about Kate Brown, a resident of the District, who in 1868 refused to leave the car reserved for white ladies in a train bound for Washington.

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