League of Women Voters joins D.C. voting rights case

league of women votersThe League of Women Voters of the United States and the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia today filed an amicus brief along with partner civil rights groups in the D.C. voting rights case Castanon v. United States.

The case, filed in federal district court in D.C., is a complaint by D.C. residents that they have been denied the full voting rights and political equity guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

“Since 1801, the residents of the District of Columbia have had no representation in Congress and no freedom to govern themselves without interference from Congress,” said Kathy Chiron, president of the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia. “D.C. citizens deserve the same rights and freedoms as citizens living in the 50 states—they are only fighting for what is fair.”

This case aims to safeguard the rights of D.C. residents who argue that there is a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution to vote for congressional representation. Currently, D.C. elects a non-voting delegate in the U.S. House but has no representation in the U.S. Senate.

“As an organization dedicated to voting rights for all eligible citizens, the League of Women Voters has long advocated for full congressional representation for D.C. residents,” said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Taxation without representation is still a very real phenomenon in the United States today. It’s time for the more than 650,000 residents of our nation’s capital to be fully enfranchised.”

LWVUS and LWVDC are represented by Arent Fox, LLP and joined by ACLU of D.C., Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

“Voting for congressional representation is a critical feature of our representative government,” said Celina Stewart, Director of Advocacy and Litigation at the League of Women Voters. “No other jurisdiction in the country suffers this level of disenfranchisement that is expressly guaranteed under the Constitution, and, absent a remedy, D.C. voters suffer a constitutional injury in both principle and practice.”

Castanon v. United States is expected to be heard later this month.

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