The mayor of Washington DC has been arrested
, along with 6 of the 12 members of its city council, during a protest today near a US Senate office building, objecting to the city's use as a bargaining chip while negotiating the 7th Continuing Resolution
to avoid a government shutdown last Friday. The bill prohibits the District of Columbia from locally funding abortion services, and imposes a locally-unpopular school voucher program. Had the government shutdown taken place, the DC government would have also had to suspend most of its operations including trash pickup
. For those of you keeping track, Vince Gray is the 3rd (of 6) DC mayor to be arrested while in office.
This is not the first time in recent memory that DC's local laws have been subject to federal intervention. Washington, DC's only directly-elected representative
was stripped of her ceremonial voting rights
in the wake of the November 2010 election.
Preluding the current abortion restrictions, a month later, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to prohibit
DC from using local funds to operate needle-exchange programs (all while DC's HIV epidemic rages on
In 2008, the Supreme Court declared
Washington DC's handgun ban to be unconstitutional, in a 5-4 decision.
All previous efforts to bring elected federal representation to the residents of DC have been shot down, most recently in 2007
, and again in 2009-10
. The 2007 bill would have granted voting rights to DC's one representative, while also allocating an extra (almost certain to be Republican) representative from Utah. The 2009 bill would have stripped DC of what remained of its ability to regulate firearms within its borders. Both bills would have likely been unconstitutional
Congress maintains the right to overturn any piece of DC legislation within 30 days of it being passed, although incursions into DC's autonomy have most typically occurred as riders to appropriations (budget) bills, including the most current.