chapter  6
22 Pages

Legislative Attempts to Prohibit the Use of International Law and Islamic Law in US Courts

ByMark E. Wojcik

This chapter explores recent proposals to ban courts from considering categories such as "foreign law", "international law", "religious law", "cultural law", "Islamic law", and "Shari'a law. The court decisions that found express references to Shari'a law to violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution, later legislative proposals have instead preferred more general terms. The chapter examines a state constitutional amendment from America's heartland, Oklahoma. Although the voters of that state overwhelming voted to prohibit their state courts from using international law or Islamic law, the federal district and appellate courts found that identifying a specific religion for disparate treatment violated the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution. The American Bar Association (ABA) policy and its accompanying report recognize that the various legislative attempts to prohibit courts from considering particular sources of law are all attempts to "deny fundamental rights to a group of citizens based on the vote of a state legislature or the results of a state-wide referendum.