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

A N.C. General Assembly budget mandate to fire certain North Carolina public education officials wou [...]

More than a month after a deadline to correct faulty campaign finance reports, N.C. Sen. Ralph Hise [...]

Even before he dropped the gavel on the Senate Finance Committee meeting, Sen. Jerry Tillman, a noto [...]

The $23 billion budget deal speeding through the N.C. General Assembly this week includes a platoon [...]

State budget bill is the latest and best example It’s long been a matter of public record that North [...]

By now the strategy is familiar – the strategy used by the N.C. General Assembly’s Republican chiefs [...]

The post The devil and the details appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

18---percentage of people in North Carolina who receive health care coverage from Medicaid or the Ch [...]

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
 


Trump + North Carolina
In dozens of vitally important areas, policy decisions of the Trump administration are dramatically affecting and altering the lives of North Carolinians. This growing collection of stories summarizes and critiques many of the most important decisions and their impacts.
Read more
 


 

HB2 - The continuing controversy
Policy Watch’s comprehensive coverage of North Carolina’s sweeping anti-LGBT law.
Read more