Islamists rushed through a draft Egyptian constitution today ahead of a court ruling that might have dissolved the constitutional panel on Sunday.
The vote - taken without the participation of the secular or Christian members of the body - risks further inflaming the conflict caused by President Mohammed Morsi gifting himself a raft of powers beyond judicial oversight.
Hundreds of thousands have mounted street protests over the "power grab" and thousands rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square today to oppose the draft.
The assembly has advanced a charter that rights experts warn could give Islamist clerics oversight over legislation.
Human Rights Watch warned that it "protects some rights but undermines others."
The draft must be put to a referendum within 30 days.
The Islamist-dominated panel voted article by article on the draft's more than 230 articles for more than 16 hours.
Voting had not been expected for another two months, but the assembly abruptly moved it up in order to pass the draft before the Supreme Constitutional Court rules on whether to dissolve the panel.
The court's decision to rule on the legitimacy of the assembly was in direct defiance of the presidential edicts.
Most of the nation's judges are on indefinite strike to protest against the decrees.
The draft says citizens are equal under the law but an article specifically establishing women's equality was dropped because of disputes over the phrasing.
As in past constitutions, the new draft said the "principles of Islamic law" will be the basis of law but a new article explains that these would be interpreted according to Sunni teachings.