North Carolina State Religion: What If We Applied Their "State's Rights" Extremism to the Second Amendment?
Yesterday America got to watch North Carolina make a total ass of itself. A bill filed on Monday by a pair of Republican lawmakers sought to allow North Carolina to establish a state religion in direct violation of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, with the reasoning being that "each state 'is sovereign' and courts cannot block a state /from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.'" Fellow PolicyMic Pundits Areej Elahi-Siddiqui and Gabriel Rodriguez have all of the finer details that I won't be talking about here.
What a rancid situation we've got on our hands here; If the Constitution doesn't apply to the states, then to whom does it apply? Just the federal government? Puerto Rico? "The document that our country is founded on doesn't apply to the states that make it up." One could call this secession by another name. I want to know just what the sponsors of this bill, Carl Ford and Harry Warren, were on when they came up with this idea so I can make a note to avoid it at all costs. The reality of states claiming selective application of the Constitution is a very ugly thing, and the implications are even worse. Many are calling this an all out war between the federal government and the states on the subject, but there is an easy way to make North Carolina back down from this Jesus Freak gibberish and make many states (as well as the rest of the GOP) reconsider trying the same tactic: Get a state to use this same logic to end the Second Amendment.
It takes a lot at any level to make the GOP backpeddle and realize that an idea is stupid, so we must go above and beyond to the call of duty here. Especially because in addition to saying the Constitution doesn't apply to North Carolina, "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." They seem to have thought of everything for this one, as far as doing battle with the Federal Government goes.
And honestly, what could they say to it? If the GOP and conservatives try and make this a nationwide tactic they would have no right to say anything about it unless they wanted to admit to gross hypocrisy. Not that the GOP has issues appearing as hypocrites (see: deficit spending) but in this case they'd be shooting themselves in the hand as opposed to the foot. The argument can swing both directions in a very bad way for them. To take it to an even greater extreme, a state could use this argument to permit everything from censorship of free speech and the free exercise of religion (or lack thereof) to torture, revocation of habeas corpus, doing away with the Fourth Amendment, and killing U.S. citizens without trial.
It doesn't take much thought to see that this has the ability to stir up a serious face off between not only the federal government and North Carolina, but also the federal rights and state’s rights crowd. There aren't many peaceful ways the conflict can end either given the partisan atmosphere covering the United States these days, and for now we can only watch the circus show play itself out and hold on for the ride. If the Obama administration is wise, though, they will get a state they’re friendly with to follow through with my suggestion for using the GOP's own game against them. Take this weapon they’ve handed you and take it to the Second Amendment and watch them trip over themselves in their desire to get away. Failing that, trumpet it from the roof that Republicans are doing the very thing they’ve accused Obama of: Ignoring one of the most important documents in American political history.