Fun With the Constitution

Xlrq, a lawyer with a hard-to-pronounce name and too much time on his hands, examines the legal ramifications of parent-child labor relations vis-a-vis minimum wage laws, income tax withholding, and the 13th Amendment’s prohibition against involuntary servitude. In a separate post, he considers whether the District of Columbia is in violation of the Constitution‘s requirement that it be 10 miles square, noting that its land mass is 68.3 square miles and its shape ceased to be square with the retrocession of Old Town Alexandria and Fairfax Arlington County to Virginia in 1847.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    I think you meant Arlington County, and not Fairfax County? Arlington is that missing corner of the square that was returned to VA.

  2. TimC says:

    As an Arlington County, VA resident, I must point out that the retrocession was of Alexandria and Arlington County, not Fairfax County. This is very evident when you view a map of DC/NoVA and see how Alexandria/Arlington complete the square on the VA side of the Potomac River.

  3. James Joyner says:

    DCL/Tim: You’re right. I knew that, really! What I get for posting in the middle of the night with insomnia!

  4. spencer says:

    For those not familiar with the very unusual political arrangements in Virginia it may be the only state with only two levels of government.
    In VA you are either in a county or a town(city)
    but the town or city is never in a county.
    The typical arrangement is for 3 levels of government with towns and/or cities also being in a county.

  5. James Joyner says:

    spencer: Yep, it’s not like anything I’d seen before. What’s especially amusing is that there is the City of Alexandria (aka Old Town Alexandria) and then there is the large part of Alexandria that is in Fairfax County but not part of the City. Quite strange, really.

  6. Xrlq says:

    Spencer, that’s close but not quite right. Cities are not inside counties, but towns are. I’m only aware of two other independent cities in the U.S., Baltimore, MD and Carson City, NV, though any distinction between independent cities and the consolidated City and County of San Francisco is arguably a matter of semantics.