In the Federal City, you’ve been blown and shown pity …

…  in secret for pieces of change.

Cato’s Ronald D. Rotunda does a fine job of showing how Dick Durbin and Richie Daley are trying to get Congress to sidestep the Constitution and give the go-ahead for Chicago to expand O’Hare Airport. Of course there are the pragmatic arguments against expanding O’Hare, which is largely a sweetheart deal for Daley and his political friends to make more money off big construction projects.

But the constitutional argument is one that hasn’t seen much light, just as it rarely does. Rotunda writes:

The Constitution gives Congress plenty of ways to deal with O’Hare, but they all cost money: Congress can use its spending power to expand the airport; it can give the state money on the condition that it expand the airport; it can order federal officials (the Army Corps of Engineers) to build the O’Hare expansion. But Congress may not simply order or authorize state or city officials to violate state law and act like federal employees.

The proposed federal law dealing with the expansion of O’Hare Airport subjects Illinois to special burdens that are not applicable to other states or to private parties. And it authorizes Chicago, a city created by the state, to do that which Illinois law prohibits.

The deal stinks in a classic Chicago way. And everybody yawns …