POLITICS

William Barber: North Carolina GOP 'Majority' Does Not Grant 'Authority' To Violate Constitution (VIDEO)

05/01/2013 02:57 am ET | Updated May 01, 2013

North Carolina NAACP President and Rev. William Barber appeared on Tuesday's edition of "All In with Chris Hayes," reinforcing the causes that prompted him to lead a Monday protest against Republican legislators.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported that of 50 Barber-led individuals marching outside the state Senate, 17 members were arrested, including Barber. The protests were in response to the aftereffects of a rare scene in North Carolina political history.

As Fox News detailed in January, the state is in uncharted territory, with its first GOP governor since 1993 and first instance of Republican control since 1870 in both the executive and legislative branches. When asked by Hayes whether that is a consequence of democracy, Barber gave an emphatic no.

"The reality is that's not how government is supposed to work, because even when you have a majority, you cannot violate the Constitution," he said.

Barber referenced the line of policies that drove his cohort to take action. Back in February, Gov. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) signed a measure that cuts benefits for jobless workers by a third. Days prior to that decision, a National Employment Law Project report found the proposal to be the harshest in the country.

By early March, the News-Observer detailed how McCrory signed legislation blocking Medicaid expansion, to a point where 500,000 low-income residents will be without coverage come the start of 2014.

A week ago, the tension shifted to the polls when the North Carolina House passed a voter ID bill. The GOP-controlled Senate and McCrory are the remaining hurdles for the legislation to become law.

That progression of events prompted Barber to liken the current legislature to "the George Wallaces of the 21st century." Wallace served four terms as Alabama governor, and as the Washington Post's Sept. 14, 1998 obituary explains, he was remembered for his "embodiment of resistance to the civil rights movement."

"A majority does not give you the authority to violate the Constitution," Barber said.

For the full segment from Tuesday's episode of "All In with Chris Hayes," click here.

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