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As I noted in Wednesday in the Weekly Briefing, North Carolina has been the butt of more national media takedowns of late than Anthony Weiner. Today’s skewering is authored by Dean Obeidallah of the Washington Bureau of the Daily Beast and it’s entitled: “North Carolina, Your Anti-Sharia Law Takes the Cake.” It’s definitely worth your time. Here’s a highlight:

“Why would Republicans in North Carolina feel the need to prevent a threat they admit isn’t real?  Even the North Carolina Bar Association called the legislation unnecessary.

Maybe looking at the legislative history of this proposed bill will give you some insight. The Republican-controlled House’s version also included provisions to restrict a women’s right to an abortion. So in the very same breath these Republicans were trying to prevent Islamic law from being imposed, they were trying to impose Christian law.

No surprise, then, that they fear Muslims will be trying to impose their own religious-based laws—it’s exactly what these Republicans are trying to do.”

Read Obeidallah’s entire post by clicking here.

Michele PresnellHouse Speaker Thom Tillis has just got to be thrilled by the lovable lugs in his increasingly crazy caucus.  First, nearly one our of every five House GOP’ers signs on to the now-officially kiboshed bill to reject the First Amendment’s application to North Carolina. 

Now, after Tillis thought he had put the whole matter to rest, one of the sponsors of the bill (Rep. Michele Presnell) is at it again — telling a constituent that she would not be comfortable with prayer to Allah before a legislative meeting because “I do not condone terrorism.”

Looks like North Carolina’s ongoing role as the butt of national media and comedy show jokes is likely continue for a while.

John Frank has the story here.

Two North Carolina legislators want the First Amendment to stay out of their county, and defy court rulings that prevent government bodies from invoking sectarian prayer before conducting public business.ford and warren

The “Rowan County Defense of Religion Act,” filed yesterday,  aims to make Rowan County in central North Carolina county an oasis where the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment does not apply.

The resolution, filed by Rowan County Reps. Carl Ford and Harry Warren, also says the county will get to ignore rulings from higher courts seeking to uphold the Constitution’s powers.

Any constitutional scholars (or first year law students) around to fact check? Please, we’d love to hear what you think of this one.

Here are some snippets from  (House Resolution 494):

Whereas the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States reads, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an Establishing of Religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ and

Whereas this prohibition does not apply to states, municipalities, or schools….

and

“Whereas, 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 ….  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 Rowan County Commissioners have been fighting attempts to stop them from using Christian prayers to open their meetings, and are being sued by the ACLU of North Carolina in federal court.

UPDATE: The ACLU of North Carolina had this to say about the bill, from legal director Chris Brook: “The bill sponsors fundamentally misunderstand constitutional law and the principles of the separation of powers that date back to the founding of this country.”

 

Rowan County Defense of Religion by ncpolicywatch