Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity and the time to make some brief comments on this legislation.

   The debate has been, as said previously, lively and very good. And it is good that we are actually having a bill presented to this Congress where the issue is whether it is constitutional or not. Too often this House seems to run through legislation. A lot is mentioned, a lot is said on this House floor, but the issue of whether it stands muster with our Constitution is not said.

   For the last 30 years, I have been in the legal profession, 8 years as a trial lawyer and 22 years as a trial judge in the State of Texas. And the issue always in court, especially in criminal cases, is: Is it constitutional what occurs in that courtroom? That is always the question of the day. And I think that is the question of today as well.

   I respect the remarks of the majority leader on his comments about how important it is for the folks in Washington, D.C. to have the right to vote for a Member of Congress. I couldn't agree with him more. It is the moral decision as well as an appropriate decision for us to make, at some time.

   But under this current piece of legislation, it is not constitutional, unless we want to take the word ``state'' in the U.S. Constitution and change it to something else. Now, that does happen with the Supreme Court from time to time; they give a new definition to the word. I don't know if they will give a new definition to the word ``state'' and apply it to the State of D.C. or not. We shall see, probably, if this legislation passes.

   But I think the better avenue would be to file a constitutional amendment. No question about it. A constitutional amendment cannot be ruled unconstitutional even by our Supreme Court. And I think that is the better way to proceed. I think this piece of legislation for the reasons stated by many people is unconstitutional and it should not pass.

   Let's do it the right way, the proper way, and of course the moral way: file a constitutional amendment.