AZ: Effort to ban court use of sharia law, canon law, halacha, and karma (under threat of impeachment) reintroduced

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Welcome Think Progress readers!

While several bills have been introduced as of late to ban the use of international and/or sharia law in state courts, I mentioned last year Arizona’s unique twist. The 2010 “Arizona Foreign Decisions Act” has been reintroduced in 2011 as HB 2582. Among other (statutory) provisions:

  • Declares the acceptance of Arizona into the Union was a “compact”.
  • Declares “Congress has no authority to preempt state regulation of state courts.”
  • Prohibits courts from implementing, referring or incorporating or using “a tenet of any body of religious sectarian law” and specifically includes sharia law, canon law, halacha and karma.
  • Exempts from the above prohibitions decisions based on Anglo-American legal tradition, laws or case law from Great Britain prior enactment of the statute, or the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, “and the principles on which the United States was founded.”
  • Prohibits use of any case law or statute from a non-U.S. jurisdiction or “foreign body”, including the United Nations.
  • Declares decisions that make use of a body of religious sectarian law or foreign law declared void and usages declared to be grounds for impeachment.
  • Declares these provisions apply to Federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction.
  • Requires any state or Federal court that construes this statute must do so in a way to confine the power of Congress and the federal judiciary.

Last year’s version had 15 sponsors, was assigned to the Judiciary Committee, and ultimately never taken up. This year’s has fewer sponsors (6 so far) but the Primary Sponsors include the freshman Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Chair of the Government Committee, and Vice Chair of both the Rules and Finance Committee.

16 thoughts on “AZ: Effort to ban court use of sharia law, canon law, halacha, and karma (under threat of impeachment) reintroduced”

  1. I’m rapidly reaching the desire to find a way to allow Arizona and like minded states to secede in a quiet and civilized manner, after a 3/4 majority vote by the citizens. It would have to include Arizona taking responsibility for 1/50th of the national debt and requiring the reset of the United States to give those states NO foreign aid for say 10 years.

    At that point, Arizona may find that even when it is outlawed, Karma can still be a bitch.

  2. I live in Arizona. When I first heard of this proposed law, I had to call someone–anyone to tell. I couldn’t be alone with that knowledge and stay sane. I learned today that Jon Kyl won’t run for reelection. I have no use for Jon Kyl, but I’m guessing that Arizona has gotten too crazy even for him.

  3. Hey Linda,
    How about the last 1/4 of us? Do we get a chance to jump ship first??? 😀 What state could the refugees go to?

    I hadn’t even heard of this until today….thanks to Facebook….


    World is watching people….World is watching

  4. Karma is not used within our legal system, nor should any other religion laws, there is a separation of church and state within our country to keep totalitarian religious entities from going ballistic with attempting to govern the masses. The supreme law of the land IS the constitution, and Arizona has every right to maintain their jurisprudence and defining the laws that shall govern their state.

  5. I agree with you Editor.

    Sharia is the code of conduct or religious law of Islam.

    Canon law is the body of laws and regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church.

    Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.

    Karma in Indian religions is the concept of “action” or “deed”, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies.

    None of these religions belong in our Courts.

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