Skip to comments.Oklahoma's ban on Sharia law thrown out by federal judge
Posted on 08/17/2013 3:05:54 PM PDT by NYer
An Oklahoma constitutional amendment that would bar the state's courts from considering or using Sharia law was ruled unconstitutional Thursday by a federal judge in Oklahoma City.
In finding the law in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the certification of the results of the state question that put the Sharia law ban into the state constitution.
"While the public has an interest in the will of the voters being carried out, the Court finds that the public has a more profound and long-term interest in upholding an individual's constitutional rights," the judge wrote.
Muneer Awad, a Muslim and American citizen who was executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations at the time, filed the lawsuit on Nov. 4, 2010, seeking to block the so-called "Save Our State" constitutional amendment that had been approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters two days earlier.
Awad claimed that State Question 755 violated the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order on Nov. 8, 2010, finding that enjoining the certification of the election results for SQ 755 would not be adverse to the public interest.
On Nov. 29, 2010, she issued a preliminary injunction, finding that Awad had legal standing and that SQ 755 likely violated both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause.
Miles-LaGrange also found then that the balance of harms weighed strongly in favor of Awad, that the alleged violation of Awad's First Amendment rights constituted irreparable injury and that the public interest demanded protection of these rights.
On Jan. 10, 2012, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Miles-Grange's preliminary injunction ruling, and on July 29, 2012, the lawsuit was amended, adding four additional plaintiffs.
In her opinion Thursday, Miles-LaGrange noted that the 10th Circuit wrote in January 2012 that "when the law that voters wish to enact is likely unconstitutional, their interests do not outweigh Mr. Awad's in having his constitutional rights protected."
Miles-LaGrange found "that any harm that would result from permanently enjoining the certification of the election results is further minimized in light of the undisputed fact that the amendment at issue was to be a preventative measure and that the concern that it seeks to address has yet to occur."
She pointed out in a footnote that attorneys defending the amendment at the November 2010 preliminary injunction hearing admitted that "they did not know of any instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures."
Miles-LaGrange also rejected the argument that the amendment could be salvaged by severing certain language that specifically mentioned Sharia law. That option would have retained less precise wording saying that Oklahoma courts "shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures."
The judge wrote in her order that "it is abundantly clear that the primary purpose of the amendment was to specifically target and outlaw Sharia law and to act as a preemptive strike against Sharia law to protect Oklahoma from a perceived 'threat' of Sharia law being utilized in Oklahoma courts."
She added that the plaintiffs "have shown that the voters would not have approved the amendment without the unconstitutional provisions."
She noted that "the public debate, public discussions, articles, radio ads and robocalls" regarding SQ 755 all primarily and overwhelmingly focused on Sharia law. "Given this context, the court finds any reasonable voter would have perceived SQ 755 as a referendum on Sharia law," she wrote.
Awad moved to New York City in August 2012 to accept a position with another CAIR affiliate, according to Thursday's opinion.
On Thursday night, Adam Soltani, the current executive director of CAIR's Oklahoma Chapter and a fellow plaintiff in the lawsuit, issued a statement in which he said: "As Oklahomans, we are incredibly thrilled at the decision and applaud the judicial system for upholding our constitutional rights. This is a victory not only for Oklahoma Muslims, but for all Oklahomans and all Americans."
Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, issued a written statement saying: "This law unfairly singled out one faith and one faith only. This amendment was nothing more than a solution in search of a problem. We're thrilled that it has been struck down."
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in the wake of the appellate court decision in January 2012 that his office "will continue to defend" the state's position.
However, spokeswoman Diane Clay said Pruitt would have no comment on Thursday night.
Despite the legal setbacks for SQ 755, Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 1060 into law last April. Proponents said that without specifically mentioning Sharia law, the measure would prohibit the application of foreign laws when it would violate either the Oklahoma Constitution or the U.S. Constitution.
My first thought too.
How about we partially institute sharia law?
Moochelle and Hildabeast and Piglosi need to wear burkas!
Let the honor killings begin.
You could cut the irony with a scimitar. This “judge” does believe the constitution is a suicide pact.
Explain to me....
If Oklahoma passes a law that says:
“Based on the precepts of Sharia....”
“According to Sharia...”
“To comply with Sharia...”
“To allow Sharia...”
or any other wording, how is that not a clear violation of “Congress shall make no respecting an establishment of religion..”?
Then someone please tell me how this doesn`t violate the equal protection clause and rulings like Brown vs. Board of Education?
Yeah, I wondered about that. No mention of a male spouse anywhere on the web.
So now the ACLU is ok with the courts using sharia law.
What will they do when a US sharia court decides a thief should have his/her hand cut off or that a gay person be executed??
Can anyone dispute that we are no longer a republic?!!!!
In normal America, yes. But we live in bizzaro America now. We're talking the universe with the bearded Spock here.
Since when does a FEDERAL judge have any jurisdiction over an OKAHOMA vote of the people?
Sharia law would stone to death homosexuals.
Everyone loves to posts comments from the safety of their home based computer. What we need is a leader ... someone willing to take the first step and rally the troops. We need someone to produce a film of Europe now vs 50 years ago.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
It's known as the Supremacy Clause.
Logically it doesn't the underlines shows exactly what the first amendment applies to, and since there is no
congress in the states, incorporating it wouldn't do jack to the states… except that the evil
incorporation does use the 1st amendment conjoined with the 14th to bind the states; this means that there is some
magic whereby the actual text is changed and then applied. It is by such that the FedGov (especially the courts) strip us of rights.
Question: when will these evils become insufferable?
The New America.
Where school districts are REQUIRED to give muslims time off to go to mecca but an American Christian woman can be arrested for praying on the school steps.
shut the hell up, you have no authority hereand then just ignore the ruling?
and here is an interesting quote they had on it. Can anyone confirm if the Kenyan said this?
I find it hilarious when liberals (and RINOs like fatass Christie) try to lecture conservatives about how we’re just being “paranoid” about the application of Sharia. This is ALREADY HAPPENING in Europe! “Sharia courts” effectively making rape and murder legal if you identify as Muslim.
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