The U.S. Constitution is a six-block walk from the D.C. City Council — but it’s light years away from the District’s policy making. For years, members of the D.C. government have pretended that the First Amendment in their neighborhood doesn’t apply to their lawmaking, especially when it comes to social issues. The latest example is the city’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), which it raced through in January against the warnings of its own legal team. Under the bill, it would be a crime for groups to not only refuse to pay for abortion coverage –but to refuse to hire a pro-abortion activist. Of course, everyone is familiar with the first part of the measure, thanks to the ObamaCare mandate. But ordering groups like FRC to set aside its beliefs and hire members of the opposition? That’s as unconstitutional as it gets!
Imagine if Congress passed a law demanding that Muslim organizations hire Jews? Or that an atheist group put Christians on the payroll? It’s the same concept here — but the D.C. Council has somehow bypassed the controversy in the name of “tolerance.” Or so it thought. Thanks to the Republican House, Congress is planning to remind D.C. that it has legislative power over the Council. As part of its oversight powers, the House and Senate have 30 legislative days to review the District’s laws and strike them down, if necessary. Both Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) have resolutions designed to do exactly that. For Congress, it would be a rare muscle-flexing over the District. According to records, it’s been 23 years since a disapproval measure has actually been taken up by both chambers.
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