Description of District of Columbia
§72: Public offices; at seat of Government
3 > Sec. 72.
Sec. 72. - Public offices;
at seat of Government
All offices attached
to the seat of government shall be exercised in the District of Columbia,
and not elsewhere, except as otherwise expressly provided by law
An Act Establishing the temporary
and permanent seat of the Government of the United States, 1 Stat. 130,
July 16, 1790-establishes D.C. as the seat of government
An Act Concerning
the District of Columbia, 2 Stat. 103-108, Feb. 27, 1801-makes
D.C. into a corporation
An Act Supplementary to
the Act Concerning the District of Columbia, 2 Stat. 115-116, March
An Act to Provide a Government for the District of Columbia, 16 Stat.
419, Feb. 21, 1871-makes D.C. into a PRIVATE, for profit
An Act Providing a Permanent
Form of Government for the District of Columbia, 20 Stat. 102, June
11, 1878-continues D.C. as a corporation
HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
When the United States Constitution was adopted on September
15, 1787, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, included language authorizing
the establishment of a federal district. This district was not to
exceed 10 miles square, under the exclusive legislative authority
of Congress. On July 16, 1790, Congress authorized President George
Washington to choose a permanent site for the capital city and,
on December 1, 1800, the capital was moved from Philadelphia to
an area along the Potomac River. The census of 1800 showed that
the new capital had a population of 14,103.
The District of Columbia Bicentennial Commission was established
to develop plans for the celebration of various anniversary dates
in District of Columbia history. The commission is comprised of
39 members with a specified number of commissioners appointed
by the mayor, the chairman of the D.C. Council, council members,
the District delegate to the House of Representatives, the courts,
and the District of Columbia Bar.
Among the events celebrated are the 200th anniversary of the
Residency Act, which established that there shall be a permanent
seat of government on the Potomac River (July 16, 1990); the 200th
anniversary of President George Washington's proclamation of the
site for the federal district (January 24, 1991); and the 200th
anniversary of the arrival of Pierre L'Enfant, Benjamin Banneker
and Andrew Ellicott. The commission may designate other bicentennial
events for celebration.
There have been several forms of appointed and elected governments
in the District of Columbia: an appointed, three-member commission
(1790-1802); elected councils and an appointed mayor (1802-1820);
elected councils and an elected mayor (1820-1871); an appointed
governor, a two-house legislature (one appointed and the other elected),
and an elected , non-voting delegate to the Congress (1871-1874);
and another appointed, three-member commission (1874-1967). Following
the defeat by Congress of a home rule effort in 1967, then-President
Lyndon B. Johnson reorganized the District government and created
the positions of an appointed mayor/commissioner and an appointed
District residents won the right to vote in a presidential election
on March 29, 1961, to elect a board of education in
1968 and, in 1970, to elect a non-voting delegate to the House
of Representatives. In 1973, Congress approved a bill that provided
District residents with an elected form of government with limited
home rule authority; as a result, District residents voted for a
mayor and a council for the first time in more than 100 years. District
residents accepted the home rule charter by referendum vote in 1974.
Congress delegated to the District government the authority, functions
and powers of a state, with a very important exception:
Congress retains control over the District's revenue and expenditures
by annually reviewing the entire District government budget. In
addition, Congress has repeatedly prohibited the District from imposing
a non-resident income tax.
In 1980, District voters approved a statehood initiative by a
majority of 60 percent; delegates to a statehood constitutional
convention were elected in
1981 and, in 1983, a bill for the admission of the state of New
Columbia was introduced in Congress. The "Constitution for the State
of New Columbia" is still under congressional consideration and
is reintroduced into each new congressional session. Under the specifications
of the statehood initiatives, most of the land area of the District
of Columbia would become the state of New Columbia; the District
of Columbia would continue to exist, albeit reduced in size to an
area consisting of the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court,
the Mall and federal monuments and government buildings adjacent
to the Mall.
_______CHRONOLOGY OF SOME EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA ____________
May 15, 1751: The Maryland Assembly appoints commissioners to
lay a town on the Potomac River, above the mouth of Rock Creek,
on 60 acres of land to be purchased from George Gordon and George
Beall. This settlement becomes Georgetown.
February 27, 1752: The survey and plat of Georgetown into 80
lots is completed.
September 17, 1787: The Constitution is signed by the members
of the Constitutional Convention.
June 21, 1788: The 1788 U.S. Constitution, as adopted by the
Constitutional Convention on September 15, 1787, is ratified by
the states. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, gives Congress authority
"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...."
July 16, 1790: The Residency Act of 1790 gives the president
power to choose a site for the capital city on the east bank of
the Potomac River between the mouth of the Eastern Branch and the
Connogocheague Creek (now
Conococheague) near Hagerstown, nearly 70 miles upstream.
January 22, 1791: George Washington appoints Thomas Johnson and
Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek, representing Maryland and Dr. David
Stuart, to represent Virginia, as "Commissioners for surveying the
District of (sic) Territory accepted by the said Act for the permanent
seat of the Government of the United States...."
January 24, 1791: President George Washington selects a site
that includes portions of Maryland and Virginia.
December 1, 1800: The federal capital is transferred from Philadelphia
to the site on the Potomac River now called the City of Washington,
in the territory of Columbia. At the time of the 1800 census, the
population of the new capital included 10,066 whites,
793 free Negroes and 3,244 slaves.
February 27, 1801: Congress divides the [District] into the counties
of Washington and Alexandria.
May 3, 1802: Congress grants the City of Washington its first
municipal charter. Voters, defined as white males who pay taxes
and have lived in the city for at least a year, receive the right
to elect a 12-member council.
The mayor is appointed by the president.
May 4, 1812: Congress amends the charter of the City of Washington
to provide for an eight-member board of aldermen and a 12-member
common council. The aldermen and the common council elect the mayor.
March 15, 1820: Under the Act of 1820, Congress amends the Charter
of the City of Washington for the direct election of the mayor by
July 9, 1846: Congress passes a law returning the city of Alexandria
and Alexandria County to the state of Virginia.
May 17, 1848: Congress adopts a new charter for the City of Washington
and expands the number of elected offices to include a board of
assessors, a surveyor, a collector and a registrar.
April 16, 1862: Congress abolishes slavery in the federal district
(the City of Washington, Washington County, and Georgetown). This
action predates both the Emancipation Proclamation and the adoption
of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
January 8, 1867:Congress grants black males the right to vote
in local elections.
June 1, 1871: The elected mayor and council of Washington City
and Georgetown, and the County Levy Court are abolished by Congress
and replaced by a governor and council appointed by the president.
An elected House of Delegates and a non-voting delegate to Congress
are created. In this act, the jurisdiction and territorial government
came to be called the District of Columbia, thus combining the governments
of Georgetown, the City of Washington and the County of Washington.
A seal and motto, "Justitia Omnibus" (Justice for All), are adopted
for the District of Columbia.
June 20, 1874: The territorial government of the District of
Columbia, including the non-voting delegate to Congress, is abolished.
Three temporary commissioners and a subordinate military engineer
are appointed by the president.
June 11, 1878: In The Organic Act of 1878, Congress approves
the establishment of the District of Columbia government as a municipal
corporation governed by three presidentially appointed commissioners
_ two civilian commissioners and a commissioner from the military
corps of engineers. This form of government lasted until August
July 4, 1906: The District Building, on 14th Street and Pennsylvania
Avenue, becomes the official City Hall.
July 1, 1952: The Reorganization Plan of 1952 transfers to the
three commissioners the functions of more than 50 boards.
March 29, 1961: The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution gives
District residents the right to vote for president.
February 20, 1967: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
is created through a compact between the District of Columbia, Maryland
April 22, 1968: District residents receive the right to elect
a Board of Education.
December 24, 1973: Congress approves the District of Columbia
Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, P.L. 93-198,
which establishes an elected mayor and a 13-member council.
May 7, 1974: Voters of the District of Columbia approve by referendum
the District Charter and the establishment of advisory neighborhood
General elections are held for mayor and council on November
January 2, 1975: The newly elected Mayor Walter Washington and
first elected council take office.
February 3, 1976: The first election for advisory neighborhood
commissioners is held.
March 29, 1978: The first segment of the Metrorail Red Line opens.
August 22, 1978: Congress approves the District of Columbia Voting
Rights Amendment, which would give District residents voting representation
in the House and the Senate. The proposed constitutional amendment
was not ratified by the necessary number of states (38) within the
allotted seven years.
January 2, 1979: The Mayor Marion Barry takes office.
November 4, 1980: District electors approve the District of Columbia
Statehood Constitutional Convention of 1979, which became D.C. Law
3-171 and which called for convening a state constitutional convention.
November 2, 1982: After the constitutional convention, a Constitution
for the State of New Columbia is ratified by District voters.
October 1, 1984: The District enters the municipal bond market.
October 29, 1986: Congress approves an amendment to the District
of Columbia Stadium Act of 1957, which authorizes the transfer of
Robert F. Kennedy Stadium from the federal government to the District
of Columbia government.
February 20, 1987: The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
is created to acquire Washington National and Washington - Dulles
International airports from the federal government, pursuant to
P.L. 99-151, The Metropolitan Washington Airports Act of 1986. The
authority begins operating the airports on June 7, 1987.
October 1, 1987: Saint Elizabeth's Hospital is transferred to
the District of Columbia government pursuant to P.L. 98-621, The
St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the D.C. Mental Health Services Act
January 2, 1992: Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon, the first woman mayor,
January 2, 1995: Marion Barry takes office for an unprecedented
fourth term as Mayor of the District of Columbia.
April 17, 1995: President Clinton signed the law creating a presidentially
appointed District of Columbia Financial Control Board and a mayor-appointed
Chief Financial Officer.
July 13, 1995: The newly appointed financial control board holds
its first public meeting. It is composed of Dr. Andrew Brimmer,
chair; and members:
Joyce A. Ladner, Constance B. Newman, Stephen D. Harlan and Edward
Singletary. John Hill is the Executive Director and Daniel Rezneck
is the General Counsel.
February 14, 1996: Mayor Barry announces a transformation plan
to reduce the size of government and increase its efficiency.
Source: Office of Public Records
v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264 (1821)- identifies the District
of Columbia as a corporation LONG BEFORE the act of incorporation in
National Mut. Ins. Co. of Dist. of Col. v. Tidewater Transfer Co. ,
337 U.S. 582 (1949)
The argument that
congressional powers over the District are not to be exercised outside
of its territorial limits also is pressed upon us. But this same contention
has long been held by this Court to be untenable.
In Cohens [337 U.S.
582 , 601] v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 429, Chief Justice
Marshall, answering the argument that Congress, when legislating for
the District, 'was reduced to a mere local legislature, whose laws could
possess no obligation out of the ten miles square,' said 'Congress is
not a local legislature, but exercises this particular power, like all
its other powers, in its high character, as the legislature of the Union.
The American people
thought it a necessary power, and they conferred it for their own benefit.
Being so conferred it carries with it all those incidental powers which
are necessary to its complete and effectual execution.' In O'Donoghue
v. United States, 289 U.S. 516, 539 , 746, this Court approved a statement
made by Circuit Judge Taft, later Chief Justice of this Court, speaking
for himself and Judge (later Mr. Justice) Lurton, that "The object of
the grant of exclusive legislation over the district was, therefore,
national in the highest sense, and the city organized under the grant
became the city, not of a state, not of a district, but of a nation.
In the same article
which granted the powers of exclusive legislation over its seat of government
are conferred all the other great powers which make the nation, including
the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States. He would
be a strict constructionist, indeed, who should deny to congress the
exercise of this latter power in furtherance of that of organizing and
maintaining a proper local government at the seat of government. Each
is for a national purpose, and the one may be used in aid of the other.'
* * *' And, just prior to enactment of the statute now challenged on
this ground, the Court of Appeals for the District itself, sitting en
banc, and relying on the foregoing authorities, had said that Congress
'possesses full and unlimited jurisdiction to provide for the general
welfare' of District citizens 'by any and every act of legislation which
it may deem conducive to that end. * * * [337 U.S. 582 , 602] when it
legislates for the District, Congress acts as a legislature of national
character, exercising complete legislative control as contrasted with
the limited power of a state legislature, on the one hand, and as contrasted
with the limited sovereignty which Congress exercises within the boundaries
of the states, on the other.' Neild v. District of Columbia, 71 App.D.C.
306, 110 F.2d 246, 250.
Mut. Ins. Co. of Dist. of Col. v. Tidewater Transfer Co. , 337 U.S.
Code (UCC), section 9-307:
LOCATION OF DEBTOR.
(f) [Location of registered
organization organized under federal law; bank branches and agencies.]
Except as otherwise provided
in subsection (i), a registered
organization that is organized under the law of the United States
and a branch or agency of a bank that is not
organized under the law of the United States or a
State are located:
(1) in the
State that the law of the United States designates,
if the law designates a State of location;
(2) in the
State that the
branch, or agency designates, if the law of the United States authorizes
the registered organization, branch, or agency to designate its
State of location; or
(3) in the
District of Columbia,
if neither paragraph (1) nor paragraph (2) applies.
(h) [Location of United States.]
The United States
is located in the
District of Columbia.
Commercial Code (UCC), section 9-307]
United States Code
Annotated, Constitution of the United States, Article I-The Congress
UNITED STATES CODE
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
ARTICLE I--THE CONGRESS
Current through P.L. 106-73, approved 10-19-1999
Section 8, Clause 17. Seat of Government;Exclusive Jurisdiction Over
This clause and clause 18 of this section giving Congress exclusive
jurisdiction over District of Columbia and giving it power to make laws
necessary and proper for carrying its enumerated powers into execution
do not empower Congress to extend diversity jurisdiction of federal
district courts to citizens of District of Columbia.> National Mut.
Ins. Co. of Dist. of Col. v. Tidewater Transfer Co., U.S.Md.1949, 69
S.Ct. 1173, 337 U.S. 582, 93 L.Ed. 1556.
This clause does not authorize Congress to give federal district outside
District of Columbia jurisdiction of action by or against citizen of
District of Columbia. Feely v. Sidney S. Schupper Interstate
Hauling System, D.C.Md.1947, 72 F.Supp. 663.
The authority given Congress under this clause to legislate for all
purposes for the District of Columbia, to establish courts therein,
and to prescribe their jurisdiction, does not authorize Congress to
enlarge jurisdiction of a Federal District Court, other than a court
of the District of Columbia, to entertain controversies between citizens
of the District of Columbia and citizens of a state.> Behlert v. James
Foundation of N.Y., S.D.N.Y.1945, 60 F.Supp. 706.
[United States Code Annotated, Constitution of the United States, Article
I-The Congress ]