Exclusive — Law Professor Rob Natelson on D.C. Statehood Bid: ‘Columbus Has Been Canceled by Woke Culture, so It’s Just Going to Be Called the Capital’

TO GO WITH STORY by Karin ZEITVOGEL, Lifestyle-US-holiday-Columbus A 06 October 2007 photo shows the statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station in Washington, DC. The statue was dedicated to Columbus 08 June 1912. Every year since 1934, people in the United States have celebrated …
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Law professor and constitutional scholar Rob Natelson noted that the Democrats’ push to grant statehood to Washington, DC includes removal of “Columbia” from the district’s name due to “woke culture” hostility toward Christopher Columbus.

“The remaining territory would not be called the District of Columbia,” Natelson remarks on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with host Joel Pollak. “Columbus has been canceled by the woke culture, so it’s just going to be called, ‘The Capital.’ The word ‘Columbia’ will be banished.”

Last Thursday, the House voted to transform Washington, DC into a state along a party-line vote of 216-208. The legislation, if enacted as law, would rename the district to the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, after abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass.

Assorted Democrats and leftists have advocated the removal and covering of statues and other art depicting Christopher Columbus. Last year, left-wing protesters tore down a statue of the Italian explorer in Virginia. They used ropes to topple the monument before burning an American flag atop it and dragging it into a nearby lake. Also in 2020, a statue of Columbus was beheaded in Boston, Massachusetts.

Natelson explained the Framers’ rationale for designating the nation’s capital city as a federal district as opposed to a state.

“[Washington, DC] is small and it’s not particularly self-supporting,” he said. “It consists largely of dependence on the federal government, which is another thing that the Founders didn’t want. They didn’t want dependent people voting, because if you’re dependent upon a master and the master votes a particular way, you’re going to vote that way also. It’s like giving the master two votes, and that is in fact a history of voting for president in the District of Columbia.”


Natelson linked the partisan voting history of D.C.’s residents with the district’s role as the seat of the federal government.

“They all vote for the Democratic Party, because that’s the party of big government,” he stated. “There’s no real argument [among D.C. residents] over which presidential candidate is better. … I think it’s too small for a state, and I think that the bill that was passed by the House of Representatives implicitly recognizes this, because what the bill says is that certain federal subsidies that have been going to the District of Colombia will continue to go to this new state. … There’s an implicit recognition in several places of the bill that this is not a viable state.”

Regular characterizations of the U.S. Supreme Court — across the news media and political circles — as having a “conservative” majority as misleading, Natelson observed.

He explained, “Even though the mainstream media and some Republicans talk about this being a conservative Supreme Court, it’s really not. There is no justice on the Supreme Court who is conservative in a sense that … [Elena] Kagan or [Stephen] Breyer or [Sonia] Sotomayor are liberal. They come in different sizes and flavors, so to speak, but you don’t really see any conservative activists on the court. But from the standpoint of the congressional leadership, the court is still not to their liking, so as you point out they want four more justices.”

“Democrats  want you to believe this is a conservative court because, obviously, they want to be able to justify actions against the court,” he concluded. “The real breakdown of the court, however, is the following: there are three justices … who we could describe as liberal activists. There is one justice — Justice Thomas — who I would describe as an originalist, or perhaps a traditional justice, not a conservative, necessarily.”

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