Raleigh, N.C. — A bill filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.
The legislation grew out of a dispute between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. In a federal lawsuit filed last month, the ACLU says the board has opened 97 percent of its meetings since 2007 with explicitly Christian prayers.
House Bill 494, a resolution filed by Republican Rowan County Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford, would refuse to acknowledge the force of any judicial ruling on prayer in North Carolina – or indeed on any Constitutional topic:
"The Constitution of the United States does not grant the federal government and does not grant the federal courts the power to determine what is or is not constitutional; therefore, by virtue of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the power to determine constitutionality and the proper interpretation and proper application of the Constitution is reserved to the states and to the people," the bill states.
"Each state in the union is sovereign and may independently determine how that state may make laws respecting an establishment of religion," it states.
The Tenth Amendment argument, also known as "nullification," has been tried unsuccessfully by states for more than a century to defy everything from the Emancipation Proclamation of the Civil War to President Obama's health care reforms to gun control.
The bill goes on to say:
SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.Eleven House Republicans have signed on to sponsor the resolution, including Majority Leader Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, and Budget Chairman Justin Burr, R-Stanly.
What is it about GOP state legislators that drives them to create laws that have no hope of surviving constitutional scrutiny yet always succeed in running up millions in legal fees to be paid by taxpayers on the way to failure?
And why is it that these same lawmakers are always among the ones crying foul when taxpayer money is spent on things such as healthcare for children or food stamps for the hungry but gladly blow big money on useless challenges to the United States Constitution?
Apparently, helping kids and seniors get needed healthcare is a shameful waste of taxpayer money while paying lawyers big money to pursue hopeless cases that only serve to further political careers is both noble and enlightening.