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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Liberty at Risk in North Carolina - Time to Read Their State Constitution

Has anybody bothered to read the North Carolina State Constitution recently? I suggest this document be read verbatim at the state legislature.

North Carolina is now asking for government officials' emails to be exempt from disclosure. This is among a litany of assaults on freedoms in North Carolina.

Now, North Carolina is asking a federal judge to keep secret Republican state lawmakers’ communications as they pushed through the nation’s most restrictive voting law last summer.

“They are doing everything they can to try to keep us from finding out what they did and how they did it and who was involved,” Rev. William Barber II, the president of the state’s NAACP chapter, which is challenging the law, told reporters Thursday. “It’s time for what was done in the dark to come into the light.”

This obstruction of North Carolinian freedoms is clearly in contrast to the language in the state's Constitution.  It seems to me, the people in North Carolina, especially the lawmakers including the state's right wing Republican Pat McCrory, should take time to read their own laws.  So, here's some homework for North Carolinians:

PREAMBLE
We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution.

ARTICLE I

DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
That the great, general, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, and that the relations of this State to the Union and government of the United States and those of the people of this State to the rest of the American people may be defined and affirmed, we do declare that:

Section 1. The equality and rights of persons.
We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.

Sec. 2. Sovereignty of the people.
All political power is vested in and derived from the people; all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.

Sec. 3. Internal government of the State.
The people of this State have the inherent, sole, and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and police thereof, and of altering or abolishing their Constitution and form of government whenever it may be necessary to their safety and happiness; but every such right shall be exercised in pursuance of law and consistently with the Constitution of the United States.

Sec. 4. Secession prohibited.
This State shall ever remain a member of the American Union; the people thereof are part of the American nation; there is no right on the part of this State to secede; and all attempts, from whatever source or upon whatever pretext, to dissolve this Union or to sever this Nation, shall be resisted with the whole power of the State.

Sec. 5. Allegiance to the United States.
Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.

Sec. 6. Separation of powers.
The legislative, executive, and supreme judicial powers of the State government shall be forever separate and distinct from each other.

Sec. 7. Suspending laws.
All power of suspending laws or the execution of laws by any authority, without the consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights and shall not be exercised.

Sec. 8. Representation and taxation.
The people of this State shall not be taxed or made subject to the payment of any impost or duty without the consent of themselves or their representatives in the General Assembly, freely given.

Sec. 9. Frequent elections.
For redress of grievances and for amending and strengthening the laws, elections shall be often held.

Sec. 10. Free elections.  All elections shall be free.

Sec. 11. Property qualifications.
As political rights and privileges are not dependent upon or modified by property, no property qualification shall affect the right to vote or hold office.

Sec. 12. Right of assembly and petition.

The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances; but secret political societies are dangerous to the liberties of a free people and shall not be tolerated.

Sec. 13. Religious liberty.
All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Sec. 14. Freedom of speech and press.
Freedom of speech and of the press are two of the great bulwarks of liberty and therefore shall never be restrained, but every person shall be held responsible for their abuse.

Sec. 15. Education.
The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right.

Sec. 16. Ex post facto laws.
Retrospective laws, punishing acts committed before the existence of such laws and by them only declared criminal, are oppressive, unjust, and incompatible with liberty, and therefore no ex post facto law shall be enacted. No law taxing retrospectively sales, purchases, or other acts previously done shall be enacted.

Sec. 17. Slavery and involuntary servitude.
Slavery is forever prohibited. Involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the parties have been adjudged guilty, is forever prohibited.

Sec. 18. Court shall be open.
All courts shall be open; every person for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation shall have remedy by due course of law; and right and justice shall be administered without favor, denial, or delay.

Someone should begin reading this document, from beginning to end, to the people of North Carolina.  Governor McCrory?

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