In 2010, voters in Oklahoma voted for a law that would prevent courts or government officials from using foreign laws in any of their decisions. However, the law was declared unconstitutional because it specifically named Sharia Law.
A number of other states have learned from Oklahoma’s mistake and have been looking at laws that target all foreign laws without mentioning any one or group in particular. Arizona, Tennessee and Louisiana have passed laws against the use of foreign law and now Kansas is joining them.
Taking effect on July 1, 2012, the law, signed by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, will ban all courts and government agencies from basing any of their decisions or policies on any foreign legal code. The way the law is worded, Sharia Law cannot be used in court cases or rulings nor will it be allowed to be considered in any government operation, policy or decisions. Sherriene Jones-Sontag, the governor’s spokesperson released a statement about the governor’s signing of the bill, stating the bill,
“Makes it clear that Kansas courts will rely exclusively on the laws of our state and our nation when deciding cases and will not consider the laws of foreign jurisdictions.”
Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance commented on the signing of the Kansas law,
“This bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws,” said Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law. “The bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion.”
Not surprising, a national Muslim group has already announced that they plan on challenging the legality of the law, claiming that it is discriminating against their religion and supporters of the law have verbally stated that they were concerned about Sharia Law being used in the courts and government as it had been used in other states. They point to comments such as the one made by State Senator Susan Wagle who said,
“They stone women to death in countries that have Shariah law.”
Regardless of what people may have said, the bill was written in such a way that it did not target any specific country, religion or group of people. Law makers are confident the bill will stand up to any legal challenge. Hopefully, every state will pass similar laws to prevent not only Sharia Law from getting any more of a foothold than it already has, but any other foreign national or religious law that is bound to come our way.