The headline at HuffPo is that North Carolina is considering creating a state religion, in clear violation of the 1st Amendment establishment clause and the 14th Amendment due process clause.
The bill, filed Monday by two GOP lawmakers from Rowan County and backed by nine other Republicans, says each state “is sovereign” and courts cannot block a state “from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.” The legislation was filed in response to a lawsuit to stop county commissioners in Rowan County from opening meetings with a Christian prayer, wral.com reported. …
… The bill says the First Amendment only applies to the federal government and does not stop state governments, local governments and school districts from adopting measures that defy the Constitution. The legislation also says that the Tenth Amendment, which says powers not reserved for the federal government belong to the states, prohibits court rulings that would seek to apply the First Amendment to state and local officials.
Originally the 1st Amendment did only apply to the federal government, but the 14th and subsequent case law changed that. But establishing a religion really isn’t the craziest part of this, as Charles Pierce points out —
Not only the clearest violation of the First Amendment possible, but backed up by the theory of nullification which, to borrow a phrase from my pal, Roy Blount, Jr., was a bad idea at the time and looks even worse in retrospect. Thus does North Carolina march boldly into the past, looking neither right nor left as it passes 1789 or 1776, until it arrives at 1640, and Quakers and Catholics are hiding under the bed.
“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.”
Now, anyone smart enough to outwit a turnip ought to be able to realize that if states could just ignore the federal government whenever they liked, there wouldn’t be a United States today. Indeed, the nullification theory is built on a vision of America that was rejected when the Constitution was adopted — that every state retained all of its sovereignty. Some, yes. Not all.