In the mid-term election, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment, “State Question 755”, to their state constitution that would prohibit state courts from considering Sharia law. This has raised a lot of concerns over infringement on the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. On November 9th, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order blocking certification of the new law pending a ruling by a federal court on a constitutional challenge by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
A little talked about issue that raises extremely serious sovereignty concerns is the wording of the Oklahoma measure that prohibits state courts from considering, not only Sharia law, but also the law of other “countries, states, and tribes.” Courts have traditionally given tribal courts broad jurisdiction and resisted incursion because of the risk of violating treaties between the U.S. and what are considered to be sovereign nations. These concerns militate decisively in favor of striking down the Oklahoma law.
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