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GOP Congressman Corrected After Missing Who Signed Constitution

Democratic Representative. Jamie Raskin of Maryland gave an impromptu history lesson to the House on Wednesday, correcting Rep. Dan Bishop for saying that by mistake Thomas Jefferson signed the Constitution.

Bishop, R-N.C., made the mistake of trying to counter Raskin’s argument during a House debate on a bill introduced by Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., that would change the codes of criminal sentencing in Washington, DC.

“The Constitution signed by Thomas Jefferson provides that Congress shall have the power ‘to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever in such and such district,'” Bishop said.

Raskin, who was a professor of constitutional law at the American University of Washington School of Law before being elected to Congress, responded by pointing out an error in Bishop’s statement, saying Jefferson did not sign the Constitution .

“I have to correct my friend in his story because there may be students watching this,” Raskin said. “Thomas Jefferson never signed the Constitution. He was of course on a diplomatic mission when the Constitution was signed in Philadelphia, but he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Raskin had argued that the GOP bill opposed a fundamental claim of Jefferson’s founding document by “dictating (to) the citizens of Washington, D.C., how they shall organize their affairs” in matters of criminal law.

“If you read the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson introduced a detailed bill against King George and Parliament, and one of the main allegations was that they denied the colonists the right to define their own criminal offenses,” Raskin said. said.

During Wednesday’s debate, Donalds argued that his bill “requires that we treat adult criminals as adults, just like the rest of the country does.”

The legislation was introduced in March after the Washington Council passed a package of public safety measures paving the way for tougher penalties for various crimes.

The legislation, titled DC Criminal Reforms to Immediately Make Everyone Safe Act of 2024, would amend the DC Council’s Youth Rehabilitation Act by lowering eligibility for juvenile delinquent status in Washington from under 25 to 18 or younger. The House passed the bill after Wednesday’s debate.

Raskin won his primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District on Tuesday as he seeks a fourth term representing the heavily Democratic district.

A spokesperson for Donalds did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening. Neither do spokespeople for Bishop and Raskin.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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