by Brian Clarey
Let’s put a pin in the legality of HB2 — which has yet to be decided by the courts and may be fluid depending on the specifics of an Executive Order issued by Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday afternoon.
Let’s instead focus on the laws passed by the North Carolina legislature since the GOP took over in 2010 that have actually been determined to be illegal.
The marriage amendment was overturned by an appeals court in 2014, two years after it was enacted.
Our Congressional districts, created by this General Assembly, were illegally drawn and now we have an absolute cluster of an election in June to make up for their wrongheadedness.
We’re still waiting on a verdict from last summer’s trial about our election law, which among other things, reduced early-voting days and requires voters to bring an ID to the polls. And the redistricting of Greensboro from on high — a plan cooked up by state Sen. Trudy Wade and some of her confederates — is still making its way through litigation.
It seems as if there is little concern for the legality of bills passed through our General Assembly, and little understanding of the rights guaranteed to US citizens by our Constitution — strange, because so many of our state reps are lawyers.
And while there are very real consequences to these illegal laws while they are on the books — for two years, for example, no same-sex marriages were performed in the state — there have been zero consequences for the architects of these illegal bills, even when the top lawyer in the state, Attorney General Roy Cooper, warned against their validity.
The marriage amendment alone consumed dozens of hours of session time, with nothing to show for it except a deeper tarnish to our state’s reputation. Our legislators still collected their salaries, even though their work was worthless. And for the two years it was in effect our state government was actively curbing people’s civil rights.
As for consequences, I’m looking for something in between a forced public apology and civil penalties, and after a couple strikes, a ban from public office — which is a problem that should take care of itself, but many North Carolina voters don’t seem to have a problem voting for candidates who don’t know how laws work.