Friday, November 5, 2010

Sharia Law Banned in Oklahoma

A ballot measure widely approved in Oklahoma on Nov. 2 amends the state constitution and "forbids courts from considering or using international law [and] forbids courts from using or considering Sharia Law."

The director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed suit in federal court, alleging that the new law violates the First Amendment and impairs his family's ability to carry out his will after he dies.

Muneer Awad argues that in his will he directs that his possessions be "divided in accordance with" Islamic law. Therefore, courts in Oklahoma will be allowed to override his express wishes because they're not allowed to consider Sharia in any adjudication.

So, I wondered: what if a Hasidic Jew dies in Oklahoma? If his will expressly states that his estate is to be adminstered in accordance with the teachings of the Torah, is the court forbidden to consider that? What if an Evangelical Christian cites some New Testament gobbledygook in directing his estate's executor? Can a court consider those biblical/Halakhic teachings?

This loan will be struck down as unconstitutional, not only because it is discriminates against a particular religion, but also because the state constitution cannot override the federal constitution. Any international treaties to which the U.S. is a party, which has been ratified by the Senate, is therefore the law of the land as much as if it were written into the Constitution, so it cannot be selectively disobeyed in a state court, as the federal Constitution has supremacy.

Clearly the measure was put on the ballot to get the base out to vote for GOP candidates. Great strategy. If a similar liberal cause can be found that would bring out the progressive faithful, perhaps it should be put on a ballot. Maybe a state measure to prohibit corporations who do business with state or local governments from contributing funds to political campaigns or political action committees? It'd probably pass in California and anywhere there is a concentration of Dems. Who cares if it ever gets enacted? Got the people to the polls right?

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