- Act! for America Newsletter May 2014
Recently, there has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation about efforts in Oklahoma to prevent the infiltration and insinuation of Shariah law in the Sooner State.
The confusion stems from a ruling earlier this month by Federal Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange requiring the state of Oklahoma to pay the legal fees of a plaintiff who successfully sued the state over the so-called "Save Our State Amendment" from way back in 2010.
This was just the latest legal setback for that beleaguered initiative.
On 15 August 2013, the same US District Judge, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, struck down the amendment (also known as SQ755) that forbade Oklahoma's courts from considering Islamic law (Shariah) in judicial decisions.
SQ755 had overwhelmingly passed a vote of the people in Oklahoma in November 2010.
This decision was not a surprise and echoed an earlier ruling by the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals also in 2010. As detailed in this article, SQ755 contained several flaws which rendered it counterproductive. (see article at www.americanthinker.com)
Fortunately, as ACT! For America members know, there is an effective and constitutional alternative to measures such as SQ755 and, thanks to the foresight and tenacity of State Representative Sally Kern, Oklahoma joined a host of other states last spring in passing it into law. That law is called American Laws for American Courts (ALAC).
Authored by Representative Kern, ALAC passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives 85-7 and the Oklahoma Senate 40-3. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on 22 April 2013.
The passage of ALAC in Oklahoma was the culmination of a 3-year effort by Representative Kern that she embarked upon when she learned that SQ755 was likely to run into trouble in the courts.
ALAC has now been passed into law in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina. A version of ALAC also passed into law for specialty courts in the state of Washington. Moreover, ALAC passed the Alabama legislature overwhelmingly last year as a constitutional amendment and goes to a vote of the people on the ballot in their next statewide election in November.
ALAC remedies the flaws in Oklahoma's SQ 755, and in many ways takes a diametrically opposite approach to SQ 755:
- ALAC is facially neutral. In an honest debate, it cannot be accused of discriminating against any religion or protected class.
- ALAC is based on a completely different legal premise from SQ 755's. Rather than seeking a ban on foreign or international law, ALAC seeks to preserve the constitutional rights and state public policy protections of American citizens and legal residents, in cases involving foreign laws in the particular dispute being adjudicated. If a case arises in which a foreign law or foreign legal doctrine is involved in a dispute in a state court, ALAC prevents the use of that foreign law or foreign legal doctrine if any of the parties' fundamental constitutional rights or state public policy would be violated in the process. This is very different from a blanket ban on foreign laws.
- ALAC is not vague. It provides specific guidance for judges on complex legal issues involving comity, choice of law, choice of forum, conflict of laws and forum non conveniens, protecting fundamental constitutional rights.
Because of the careful planning and thought behind ALAC's wording, in contrast to SQ 755, from a practical standpoint, it is effective in preventing the enforcement of any foreign law -- including shariah law -- that would violate U.S. and state constitutional liberties or state public policy.
And the need for an effective law preserving constitutional rights against the enforcement of unconstitutional foreign law is both real and urgent: an independent study found 50 cases in 23 states where shariah law had been introduced into state court cases, including some appellate and trial court cases where the judges ruled for shariah law over U.S. law. Most victims of foreign laws in these cases had come to America for freedom and individual liberty -- including American Muslims seeking to escape shariah.
It is important to point out that ALAC has been in force since 2010 and has never been challenged in court, simply because there is no basis on which to challenge a law that expressly protects constitutional rights.
Muslim Brotherhood organizations, such as the HAMAS-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have opposed ALAC, just as they opposed SQ755. This shows their true motivation; they are not interested in freedom, liberty and our constitution that guarantees them. CAIR has another, more sinister, hate-filled agenda.
Nevertheless, the states that have passed ALAC, such as Oklahoma, have moved to prevent the kind of "creeping shariah" that has occurred in Western Europe, Great Britain in particular. Despite what you might read from the so-called "mainstream" media, the threat from shariah is real and must be guarded against. It is naive to think that "it can't happen here." Shariah is ALREADY here and groups like CAIR are promoting it actively.
Thanks to Representative Kern and her colleagues in the Oklahoma legislature, with the support of ACT! For America's thousands of members in Oklahoma, we have made sure that the laws applied in Oklahoma courts will be AMERICAN laws.