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Spring fever? Something out there is adding extra crazy to the right-wing. Even in a southern state not usually associated with the gone-over-the-edge Republicans, North Carolina. Republican legislators there want to declare the state exempt from the United States Constitution and court rulings and establish a state religion. Because, in this case at least, the Tenth Amendment trumps.
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."
The courts, of couse, think otherwise, which is why 11 House Republicans—including the majority leader and budget chairman—have signed onto this bill. A 2011 ruling by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the use of explicit Christian prayer in Forsyth County's government meetings was unconstitutional and the ACLU has filed suit to stop county commissioners in Rowan County from opening meetings with a Christian prayer. Doesn't count, say these legislators, because nullification. And freedom.