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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.