Profs and Pints presents: “Why Keep the Capital in Washington?” with David Fontana, professor of law at George Washington University, expert on constitutions, and scholar of debates over the geographic concentration of government power.
At our nation’s founding, no idea was more central to conceptions of how the new Republic would work than the belief it should feature a geographic separation of power, with federal officials distributed in the capital and around the country. But the Founders did not go far enough, because they incorrectly assumed that federal officials could come to Washington without becoming detached from their roots. Most Americans–from red places and blue places–now feel that the federal government is not of them and not from them in part because it is not near them. Moving more of the federal government closer to them would ensure that the federal government can employ the best people and hear from more people.
In our Internet age, large organizations often station their technology people in Silicon Valley, their financial people in New York City, and their lobbyists in Washington, because they realize that talented people exist everywhere and technology lets people work across distances. Should Washington follow their lead? Members of Congress and state legislatures, from both parties, are warming up to the idea.
David Fontana, an expert on the constitutions of the United States and foreign nations, has extensively researched the long history of debates in America and elsewhere over where to place national capitals. Come hear him discuss how other nations have dealt with this issue and the question of whether Washington should stay in Washington. If nothing else, his talk might offer you hope of an alternative to fighting traffic on the Beltway, 270, 395, and 66. (Advance tickets: $12. Door: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself plenty of time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)
Advance tickets available at https://profspintscapital.brownpapertickets.com