USVI Senate authorizes constitutional convention to try again

From the Virgin Islands Daily News:

ST. THOMAS – The V.I. Senate voted Tuesday evening to give the Fifth Constitutional Convention one more chance to do the job it was elected to do in 2007.

By an 8-6 margin, the Senate approved a bill proposed and amended by Senate President Ronald Russell to deal with the territory’s lingering lack of a governing document.

The Virgin Islands is one of the last entities under the United States flag that has yet to draft and ratify its own governing document. The territory has had five constitutional conventions – in 1964, 1971, 1977, 1980 and 2007 – that did not produce a successful document.

The Fifth Constitutional Convention passed a controversial draft constitution in 2009.

President Barack Obama, the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Congress ultimately sent the draft back to the territory in 2010 with recommendations to remove certain provisions granting native Virgin Islanders special rights based on birth or ancestry.

That never happened. Continue reading

In Tampa, party like it’s 1799

The party of small government gathered in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday to piece together its platform ahead of next weeks’ Republican National Convention. And, with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell presiding, Republican delegates voted to explicitly deny hundreds of thousands of tax paying, DC residents voting rights in the US House of Representatives.

It’s inevitable that in instances like these the question is asked: how does the party that ostensibly supports devolving federal powers to state and local communities routinely oppose extending DC the same rights enjoyed by hundreds of millions of other Americans?

There is more than just fear of more Democratic votes in the US Congress undergirding the GOP’s opposition to DC Statehood. For the movement’s intellectual leaders, who revere the Constitution as sacred text, opposition to DC voting rights has to do with adhering to the Founders’ original intent, formulated in a vastly different society over 220 years ago, and enumerated in the US Constitution. Continue reading