District of Columbia Self-Governing and Government Reorganization Act 87 Stat. 774 (1973)

views updated


Limited home rule in the district of columbia had been a long-time desire of its inhabitants. Since 1874, the President had chosen the city's administrators and Congress had acted as the city's governing council. Washingtonians elected only their school board and a nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives.

This 1973 act granted the District a council, a mayor, and increased self-government. It provided a charter for local government, subject to approval by a majority of the registered voters. Although Congress sought to avoid day-to-day responsibility for District affairs, it retained ultimate legislative authority as provided in Article I, section 8, including the power to legislate generally for the District and to veto local laws. The city government exercised the functions of several quasi-federal agencies: the Redevelopment Land Agency, the National Capital Housing Authority, and the District of Columbia Manpower Administration. The Act reorganized the National Capital Planning Commission, giving the mayor responsibility for District planning, excepting federal and international projects. Further, it required the President, in appointing judges to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Court, to choose from candidates submitted to him by a newly created District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission.

The act, while still denying the District congressional representation, satisfied a number of city residents' demands for local control over city affairs.

Paul L. Murphy

About this article

District of Columbia Self-Governing and Government Reorganization Act 87 Stat. 774 (1973)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article