U.S. judge permanently bans Oklahoma Islamic law vote

By TIM TALLEY, AP Modified: August 16, 2013 at 5:25 am •  Published: August 15, 2013
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A telephone call to a spokeswoman for Attorney General Scott Pruitt was no immediately returned.

The proposed constitutional amendment read, in part: “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.”

The lawsuit that challenged it alleged that the ballot measure transformed Oklahoma's Constitution into “an enduring condemnation” of Islam by singling it out for special restrictions by barring Islamic law.

In her ruling, Miles-LaGrange found that Awad and others who challenged the amendment would suffer irreparable harm if a permanent injunction was not granted. The judge ruled that the constitutional amendment's Sharia law provisions are unconstitutional “and the whole amendment must fall.”

“Because the Court has found that the Sharia law provisions of the amendment are unconstitutional, the court finds that the balance of harms weighs even more in favor of plaintiffs' having their constitutional rights protected,” the judge wrote.

Federal courts have said supporters of the amendment had acknowledged they did not know of any instance when an Oklahoma court applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other countries.

“Accordingly, the Court finds the threatened injury to plaintiffs outweighs the harm that a permanent injunction may cause defendants,” Miles-LaGrange said.