Bans on court use of sharia/international law: heavily modified bills introduced in 2013, exempts contracts, Native American tribes, avoids using word “sharia”

This year’s batch of bans of sharia/international law use by state courts looks very different than those of the past several years. After criticism that a) past versions would effectively cripple businesses who have to sign international contracts and b) that bans on references to the law and court decisions of other nations would make the judicial determinations of tribal courts in the U.S. enforceable, most such bills have been completely rewritten. Specifically, most now specify the prohibition on the use of foreign law/sharia

  • applies only to a particular case type (such as family law or domestic relations)
  • does not infringe on the right to contract
  • does not apply to not apply to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, etc.
  • does not apply to recognition or use of tribal court decisions in state courts
  • does not apply to ecclesiastical matters within a denomination

Even with these modifications, as in the past, most such bills are failing to advance in the legislatures.

List of bills below the fold

Bill
Does not affect right to contract freely/contract provisions
Does not apply to corporations
Does not apply to tribal court decisions
Does not apply to ecclesiastical matters/religious orgs
Other items
Status
X
X
Full faith and credit with other states suspended if they use international law
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
Full faith and credit with other states suspended if they use international law
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
Limited to Family law. Does not apply to use of English common law.
Approved by Judiciary Committee’s Civil Justice Subcommittee 2/7/13.
X
X
X
X
Limited to Family law. Does not apply to use of English common law.
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
In Senate Rules Committee.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
In Senate (no committee).
X
Specifically uses word “sharia” Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
Died in Senate Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
X
Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/6/13.
X
In House States’ Rights Committee.
X
X
In House Rules Committee.
X
X
X
In House Rules Committee.
X
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/12/13.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
Limited to family law (divorce, marriage, parent-child relationship)
In House Judiciary Committee.
In House (no committee).
X
X
Limited to family law (divorce, marriage, parent-child relationship)
In Senate State Affairs Committee.
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
Does not apply to use of English common law, if enacted
Killed by full House 1/24/13.
Does not apply to use of English common law, if enacted
Died in House Judiciary Committee.
Limited to Domestic Relations (marriage, divorce, custody, visitation, support, adoption)
Withdrawn at sponsor’s request

Foreign law ban proposal advances in Wyoming House Judiciary Committee

A proposal to ban Wyoming courts from considering foreign or international law narrowly won approval from a legislative committee Tuesday. The legislation under review is similar to an unsuccessful 2011 proposal that would have prevented courts from considering international law or Sharia law. This new legislation however does not specifically name Sharia, or Islamic, law. But During the January 22 hearings, it was said  that the possibility of Sharia law being considered in Wyoming is one of the things the resolution would prevent.Sharia-law-Billboard

Anti-Shariah Bill introduced in North Carolina

The state House Judiciary Committee sent a bill to the House floor today, even though no one – not even the sponsor – could come up with any evidence that it’s needed.

House Bill 640, sponsored by Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, would, according to the bill analysis, “prohibit the application or enforcement of a foreign law in a legal proceeding if doing so would violate a right granted by the North Carolina or United States constitutions.” It would also nullify provisions in contracts or agreements “calling for the application of foreign law or choosing a foreign venue…if it violated a constitutional right of a party.”

The first version of the legislation was passed by ballot initiative in Oklahoma. It specifically named Sharia, and was promptly blocked by a judge, who declared that unconstitutional.

Since then, newer versions of the measure in states from Arkansas and Texas to Indiana and Alaska have been more carefully worded. Cleveland’s version makes no mention of religion at all, and it wasn’t mentioned in committee.

But House Minority Leader Joe Hackney has no doubt. “It’s about sharia,” he said “It’s part of the far-right agenda. The extreme far right agenda.”