Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

The Judicial Branch is awesome…

I’ll admit it.

On November 2, while I stood in the ballot box, I nearly ““ and I stress “nearly” ““ cast a “Yes” vote for State Question 755, the controversial law that forbids state courts from considering or using international law or Sharia law.

I nearly voted “Yes,” because well, it kind of made sense.  If you really think about it, our state courts should probably not consider international law and Sharia law when they make decisions.  Granted, they should also not consider biblical law, Canadian law, Boy Scout Mottos, or the unwritten rules of baseball when deciding court cases, but we don’t need a constitutioanl ammendment to know that. 

But…before I filled in the “Yes” arrow, I stopped.  For some reason, the State Question just didn’t seem right. It seemed fishy.  So I changed my mind at the last second and voted “No.”  

I think that was a good decision.  I think that because after I’ve had more time to think about it, State Question 755 was nothing more than a symbolic attempt by right wing religious whackos to legislate that their religion is better than others.  It’s just a veiled attempt to tell to those who follow different religions that they are not welcomed Oklahoma.

Not surprisingly, I was on the wrong side.   State Question 755 passed easily with 70% of the vote.  Also not surprisingly, the judicial branch was on my side.

From NewsOK.com: 

An Oklahoma City federal judge Monday ruled against a voter-approved restriction on Islamic law.

In a 15-page order, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange continued to keep the restriction out of the Oklahoma Constitution. Her ruling was a victory for an Oklahoma City Muslim leader who had complained his constitutional religious rights were in jeopardy….

In Monday’s order, the judge wrote that Awad “has made a strong showing that State Question 755’s amendment’s primary effect inhibits religion and that the amendment fosters an excessive government entanglement with religion.”

The judge rejected the state’s argument that the amendment is a broad ban on state courts applying the law of other nations and cultures regardless of what faith they may be based on.

She wrote, “The actual language of the amendment reasonably “¦ may be viewed as specifically singling out Sharia law, conveying a message of disapproval of plaintiff’s faith.”

The judge wrote: “This order addresses issues that go to the very foundation of our country, our (U.S.) Constitution, and particularly, the Bill of Rights. Throughout the course of our country’s history, the will of the ‘majority’ has on occasion conflicted with the constitutional rights of individuals, an occurrence which our founders foresaw and provided for through the Bill of Rights.”

Quoting from a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision, she wrote, “One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

The judge said any harm to the state in delaying certification of the results is minimized because the amendment “was to be a preventative measure and the concern that it seeks to address has yet to occur.”

I find myself writing this way too often, but “Thank You” judicial branch.  And while I’m at it, “Thank You” checks and balances. 

Thank you so very much for making Oklahoma a tolerable state for the regular people like me who aren’t scared of those who are different. 

Thank you for standing up for those people like me who don’t care if someone else is black, white, legal, illegal, gay, Muslim, Jewish, Christian or Porn Star.   Although I am finding that many conservative white Christians over the age of 50 are rather annoying.  And I do think porn stars are cool, especially the ones from Oklahoma.

And most importantly, thank you for protecting the liberties of all those people who are different and in the minority, and letting them live free and happy lives (for the most part).

Thanks a bunch!

p.s.- This is just a temporary injunction, so I guess there is still a chance it could be appealed and then repealed.  But I doubt it.  I read all of Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange order, and it made a lot of sense.  I imagine most “liberal activist judges” would feel the same way, so score one for the good guys.

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Comments

  1. I voted yes, but not knowing how the original law was worded, I was unsure if they were trying to add other laws to decide cases on. I wanted there to be a 3rd option “this question is stupid”.

  2. I just find it frustrating that this topic is creating so much drama when there wasn’t actually a problem in the first place.

    While I fully understand the wisdom in seeing how current actions could lead to future problems, I wish we would spend some more of our energy focusing on problems that do exist right now.

  3. “Quoting from a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision, she wrote, “One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

    Pray tell, Your Honor, what in this quote applies to your ruling? Free speech? No, not there. Life, liberty, and property? Not affected at all. Freedom of worship? No, still have that. Freedom of assembly? Nope. “…other fundamental rights…” Aaah. Just what are those rights? Whatever the judiciary decides they are. And that is why many of us saw the need to vote YES on 755. We see what an activist judiciary can do when they trample all over the 10th Amendment.

  4. I voted no on 755 because I’m in favor of less government, not more. You see, I’m a conservative, except, instead of bothering myself with moral issues I can’t control, my conservatism sticks to frugal spending, small government, and strong national defense. Voting for laws that address mythical problems is stupid and it is going to end up costing the state millions of dollars in a losing legal fight to defend it. We all know that Sharia law is not an issue here in Oklahoma or anywhere in the U.S. We have a Constitution that already bans its application. The banning of international law in our courts is just ridiculous and was obviously written by a man who has never lived, worked or done business outside of this state. Our courts can and should be allowed to apply international law when appropriate, such as when contracts with foreign companies call for the application of international law or our courts are asked to decide an issue dealing with international treaties. Read before you vote on drivel like this people.

  5. Some of you people are really thick. You believe whatever you hear in a chain e-mail. The 10th Amendment does not give states the power to circumvent the 1st Amendment.

    This state question singled out one religion for condemnation. It tries to put to law a bunch of rednecks’ distrust and disdain for Muslims. It accomplishes nothing because the situation it seeks to prevent is so unlikely it is in the realm of the preposterous. And it makes us look like a bunch of stupid yockels. So, yeah, great law.

  6. The problem with using religious law comes when a religion says it is proper to hack off someone of that reigion’s hand if they are caught stealing. Or if that religion says it is OK to rape your wife if she refuses to have sex with you when you want to. Judeo-Christian law and tradition don’t allow these, but Sharia Law does. Also the Judeo-Christian laws and traditions have been updated and re-interpreted since ancient times while Sharia is still based in Medieval times and mores. I voted against the measure, as I think no civil law should be based on religion in a society that practices separation of church & state.

  7. The problem I have is in regards to the power of the judicial system. Where is the system of checks and balances? The Legislative Branch brought this to the people. How can one branch of the government have so much power? The sole power to cancel out the vote of the people. Was this bill dumb? Yes…But the people voted on it. They also voted and approved allowing Oklahoma wine to be sold in stores in 2001, only to have it be over turned by the judicial branch. When the government can overturn the people vote, that is where I find the problem.

  8. Wake up Patrick. People who follow different religions are NOT welcome in oklahoma!

    The people of this state have spoken and they want to live in the past.

    Just like Al Queda…

  9. @B.A. Baracus – There’s no tangible difference between the passing of an illegal law by referendum of the people or passing of an illegal law by act of the state legislature. The people of the state of Oklahoma cannot, short of secession from the Union or a U.S. Constitution amendment, pass a law which causes the state of Oklahoma to establish religion. It’s a safeguard that goes back to Alexander Hamilton, and I for one am thankful for it.

    • @YMI17 Thanks for the reply. I thought the purpose of state question 755 was to prevent religion from taking precedent before the law. Any religion should be separate when it comes to the courts. Was the problem with how it was worded? Should the state question have stated (solely saying Shiria Law), that no religious courts shall take precedent before that law of the United States?

      Just asking questions, like I said I thought the concept didn’t make sense.

  10. Does this mean a woman will not be exonerated for killing her husband after he rapes her which was his right? Will his surviving male family members then be allowed to stone her to death?

  11. I read your post, RTE66MAN. I just found it to be wrong on many levels. As the judge in this case explained, this state question specifically singles out one religion for disapproval. That is a violation of the 1st Amendment anyway you try to slice it.

    “The actual language of the amendment reasonably “¦ may be viewed as specifically singling out Sharia law, conveying a message of disapproval of plaintiff’s faith.”

    As for the cases in that link, did you actually read any of them? In none of those cases were American courts using Sharia law to decide a case, and in the cases where they are being asked to ignore American law to defer to Sharia law and other Muslim customs, they refuse to do so. The case I most often see cited, which is listed here, is one in which a Maryland court upheld a Pakistani court’s custody ruling for a father. The reason is because the family was living in Pakistan, and the mother fled here after she lost custody. It was about jurisdicition, not Sharia law.

    This thing is nonsense. It is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist and attempts to codify discrimination against a particular religion.

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