• U.S.

Home Rule or Death

1 minute read

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS ADDING SOMETHING new to the arguments over the death penalty: the contention that a vote for capital punishment is a vote against home rule. Washington’s homicide rate is down slightly this year. But one of those slain was Tom Barnes, an aide to Alabama Democratic Senator Richard Shelby. The enraged Shelby pushed through Congress a law ordering the District to hold a referendum on reinstating the death penalty, and election officials last week put a sweeping proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. Nearly all the city’s leading politicians appealed to residents to vote no as a means of expressing resentment against interference in the District’s affairs. Said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s nonvoting delegate to Congress: “This is not about the death penalty. It is about home rule.” But recent savage crimes have aroused such anger that the proposal has a chance of passing.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com