Oklahoma Islamic law ban challenged

The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit Nov. 4 challenging the constitutionality of State Question 755, which amends the state constitution to ban the use of Islamic or international law in state court decisions. The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, seeks to block the Oklahoma State Board of Elections from certifying this week’s election results, in which voters approved the measure by a vote of 70 to 30%. CAIR argues that the law violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The law would prevent Oklahoma courts from “look[ing] to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures,” requiring them only to look to legal precedents of other states for guidance, provided that state does not use Islamic law.

The law was sponsored by state Rep. Rex Duncan (R), who described it as a preemptive strike against the use of Islamic law in Oklahoma. The necessity of the amendment has been questioned due to the fact that the use of Islamic law in US courts would likely violate the First Amendment prohibition on laws respecting an establishment of religion.

From Jurist, Nov. 5. Used with permission.

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