Uncategorized

Federal judge in Oklahoma finds “Anti-Sharia law” amendment unconstitutional

Late last week, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange in Oklahoma City ruled that a state amendment prohibiting courts from considering Sharia law when ruling in cases was unconstitutional.

In her decision, the judge said that because the amendment discriminated among religions, the state had to demonstrate a compelling state interest to justify it — something Oklahoma failed to do:

For an interest to be sufficiently compelling to justify a law that discriminates among religions, the interest must address an identified problem that the discrimination seeks to remedy.

[The state] simply asserts that “Oklahoma certainly has a compelling interest in determining what law is applied in Oklahoma courts.” Oklahoma’s asserted interest is a valid state concern. But this general statement alone is not sufficient to establish a compelling interest for purposes of this case. [Defendants] do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve. Indeed, they admitted at the preliminary injunction hearing that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.

Given the lack of evidence of any concrete problem, any harm [defendants] seek to remedy with the proposed amendment is speculative at best and cannot support a compelling interest.

North Carolina lawmakers passed a similar bill in July, with a similar lack of evidence that courts were applying Sharia or other foreign law here.  That bill, H522, does not expressly ban Sharia law, although that was the intent, as reflected in statements by lawmakers prior to the bill’s passage.

It is now on the governor’s desk, awaiting signature.

 

 

3 Comments


  1. BrianK

    August 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Wouldn’t the compelling interest be to prevent a problem before it happens, rather than waiting to deal with more difficult problems if a court should apply Sharia law? Broadly, shouldn’t Oklahoma being applying Oklahoma state law and not the “law” found in a religious text?

  2. Denver

    August 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

  3. david esmay

    August 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Apparently the Righty neo-cons love searching for solutions to problems that don’t exist, there really are much more pressing social problems than this ideological drivel.

Check Also

State Supreme Court rules retroactive application of teacher tenure repeal is unconstitutional

The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement refuses to disclose any details of probe into alle [...]

Senate favors form of merit selection for judges as alternative to House judicial redistricting bill [...]

North Carolinians hoping to find out who’s been funding Rep. Justin Burr’s crusade this legislative [...]

The SePro Corporation is receiving as much as $1.3 million in taxpayer money to chemically kill the [...]

Here is something you probably haven’t heard much lately, if at all, given the shocking news from Ch [...]

Lawmakers to return to Raleigh yet again; agenda may include dangerous “de-reg” proposal The North C [...]

The three federal judges could have just come right out and said it: The Republicans who rule the N. [...]

3---number of states that adopted new state Earned Income Tax Credits in 2017---Montana, Hawaii, and [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more