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Oklahoma Anti-Sharia Ballot Measure Ill-Advised

The wrong instrument to keep Sharia law from being used in the United States.

by
Patrick Richardson

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November 12, 2010 - 12:00 am
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I am of two minds about the recently passed State Question 755 in Oklahoma.

This is the measure that bars Oklahoma state judges from using international or religious law, specifically Sharia law, to guide their decisions. It was passed by over 70 percent of Oklahomans.

It’s problematic to say that it would forbid judges from using international treaties to guide their decisions as some of the opponents have claimed. International treaties are part of international law, it’s true. They are also, once ratified, part of federal law and therefore subject to the same use as any other federal statute.

It is also problematic, however, that the “Save our State” amendment singles out Sharia law. Please do not misunderstand: I do not want Sharia law implemented in the United States. It is a blight on the Muslim world. That judges are referring to it in England is frightening in the extreme. Indeed, there are 85 Sharia law courts in England.

However, what got this amendment put on hold, and will probably get it struck down, is that it did not include, for instance, Talmudic law or Canon law — Jewish and Catholic law, respectively.

Few Americans would want those used in our court system either.

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