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Federal judge keeps Sharia law restriction out of Oklahoma Constitution

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange's order against the Sharia law ban is only a preliminary injunction, not a permanent one. The Oklahoma Election Board can appeal.
BY NOLAN CLAY AND CARLA HINTON Published: November 30, 2010

In Monday's order, the judge wrote that Awad “has made a strong showing that State Question 755's amendment's primary effect inhibits religion and that the amendment fosters an excessive government entanglement with religion.”

The judge rejected the state's argument that the amendment is a broad ban on state courts applying the law of other nations and cultures regardless of what faith they may be based on.

She wrote, “The actual language of the amendment reasonably … may be viewed as specifically singling out Sharia law, conveying a message of disapproval of plaintiff's faith.”

The judge wrote: “This order addresses issues that go to the very foundation of our country, our (U.S.) Constitution, and particularly, the Bill of Rights. Throughout the course of our country's history, the will of the 'majority' has on occasion conflicted with the constitutional rights of individuals, an occurrence which our founders foresaw and provided for through the Bill of Rights.”

Quoting from a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision, she wrote, “One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

The judge said any harm to the state in delaying certification of the results is minimized because the amendment “was to be a preventative measure and the concern that it seeks to address has yet to occur.”

Legislators called the measure the “Save Our State” amendment. The measure's principal author, former state Rep. Rex Duncan, a Republican, has called it a “pre-emptive strike ... against a growing threat.”

Critics of Sharia law contend it could be used as a defense in state courts to such barbaric practices as marital rape.


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