To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Foer’s column on Washington, D.C. (“Promoting democracy in our nation’s capitol,” 3/4), I point out that citizens of the District of Columbia can vote in presidential elections, and while Eleanor Holmes Norton MA ’63 LLB ’64, the District’s delegate in Congress, may have her own opinion on what rights the District’s residents should have, I am sure that this Yale College and Yale Law School alumna would be offended by the suggestion that her constituents “have no representation in the federal legislature.”

Article I, Section 8, paragraph 17 of the United States Constitution states that Congress shall have the power “to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District — as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States –” James Madison wrote in Federalist number 43 that this clause exists to prevent any state or local government from gaining undue prestige from possessing the seat of government and to ensure that no lower government has extortionary influence over the government of the whole nation.

If D.C. residents do not believe that Congresswoman Norton represents them adequately, then they should indeed draft a constitutional amendment altering Congress’s exclusive power over the nation’s capital as Mr. Foer suggests.

Aaron Nagano ’02

March 4, 2002