The District of Columbia ("the District") enjoys a unique relationship with the federal government. As a matter of Constitutional pronouncement, citizens of the District are deprived of the right to ultimate control over the content of local laws. The Constitution provides that, "[t]he Congress shall have the power ... to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States."2 Since the District's establishment in 1791, 3 Congress has not hesitated to exercise its legislative authority over local matters, frequently promulgating laws that affect both the structure of local government and the substantive elements of the local code.4
Jonathan M. Smith,
The District Of Columbia Revitalization Act And Criminal Justice: The Federal Government's Assault On Local Authority,
U.D.C. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.udc.edu/udclr/vol4/iss1/9