November 10, 2010
Foreign Law in Oklahoma Courts
I am slightly embarrassed that it has taken me so long to post after the wonderful introduction I received a couple of months back. As many of you know, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 755, which prohibits state judges from looking to "the legal precepts of other nations or cultures," specifically, "the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law." Yesterday, a federal judge issued a TRO, enjoining the state from certifying the election results for State Question 755.
Although not directly related to immigration, the passage of this State Question continues a recent nativist trend in Oklahoma, including the passage of a harsh immigration statute a couple of years ago. My colleague, Joe Thai, had this to say about State Question 755: "'[T]he ballot measure is "an answer in search of a problem. ...There is no plausible danger of international law or Sharia law overtaking the legal system,' Thai said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. He said courts only consider international law when deciding issues involving a federal treaty, a business contract or a will that incorporates international law. Thai said the ballot measure 'raises thorny church-state problems as well' and could even affect a state judge's ability to consider the Ten Commandments" since the Ten Commandments did not originate in the United States or Oklahoma.
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