Bans on court use of sharia/international law: showdown vote in Michigan set for after November election

October 4th, 2012 by Bill Raftery Leave a reply »

Few if any state legislatures are in session, but one of those few is Michigan and that state’s House is set to come back into session November 27 to decide the fate of a bill that would ban the use of international law by the state’s judiciary.

Under Michigan  HB 4769 and SB 701

A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, mediation, or enforcement authority shall not enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States.

After initial bad press and rallies where the bills were introduced earlier this year the bills remained in their respective committees. However the House journal indicates a notice for a motion to discharge HB 4769 from the House Committee on Judiciary was filed by the bill’s primary sponsor September 11 and the motion made September 12. The vote on the motion was postponed until November 27, 2012.

Full roster of 41 bills introduced and their statuses after the jump.

Bill Provisions Status
Alabama SB 33 (Constitutional Amendment) Enacts American and Alabama Laws for Alabama Courts Amendment. Provides “A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, arbitrative, or enforcement authority shall not apply or enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate any state law or a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” Died in Senate Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Alabama SB 40 (Constitutional Amendment) Defines foreign law as “any law, rule, or legal code, or system established, used, or applied in a jurisdiction outside of the states or territories of the United States, or which exist as a separate body of law, legal code, or system adopted or used anywhere by any people, group, or culture different from the Constitution and laws of the United States or the State of Alabama.” Provides “A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, arbitrative, or enforcement authority shall not apply or enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate any state law or a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” Died in Senate Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Alabama SB 84 (Constitutional Amendment) Defines foreign law as “any law, rule, or legal code, or system established, used, or applied in a jurisdiction outside of the states or territories of the United States, or which exist as a separate body of law, legal code, or system adopted or used anywhere by any people, group, or culture different from the Constitution and laws of the United States or the State of Alabama.” Provides “A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, arbitrative, or enforcement authority shall not apply or enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate any state law or a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” Indefinitely postponed by full Senate 5/9/12.
Alaska HB 88 Prohibits a court, arbitrator, mediator, administrative agency, or enforcement authority from applying a foreign law if application of the foreign law would violate an individual’s right guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of Alaska or the United States Constitution. Approved by House State Affairs Committee 3/17/11. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 4/4/11. Died in House Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Florida HB 1209 Provides “foreign law, legal code, or system” means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations or tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals. Provides the term does not include the common law and statute laws of England as described or any laws of the Native American tribes in the state. Declares “Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision violates the public policy of this state and is void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its ruling or decision in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any foreign law, legal code, or system that does not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United States Constitution.” Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/22/12. Approved by full House 3/1/12. Died in Senate Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Florida SB 1360 Provides “foreign law, legal code, or system” means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations or tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals. Provides the term does not include the common law and statute laws of England as described or any laws of the Native American tribes in the state. Declares “Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision violates the public policy of this state and is void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its ruling or decision in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any foreign law, legal code, or system that does not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United States Constitution.” Approved by Senate Budget Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations 2/28/12. Died on Senate floor when legislature adjourned.
Georgia HB 45 Provides “the term ‘foreign law’ means any law, rule, or legal code or system established and used or applied in a jurisdiction outside of the United States or its territories…A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other tribunal shall not enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” In House Committee on Judiciary. Carried over from 2011 session. Died in committee when legislature adjourned.
Georgia HB 242 Declares “‘foreign law’ means any law, rule, or legal code or system established and used or applied in a jurisdiction outside of the United States or its territories…A court, administrative agency, or other tribunal shall not enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” Approved by House Committee on Judiciary Non-Civil 2/24/12. Died on House floor when legislature adjourned.
Georgia SB 51 Provides that no court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other tribunal shall enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States In Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Carried over from 2011 session. Died in committee when legislature adjourned.
Georgia SR 926 (Constitutional Amendment) Describes foreign and religious laws which are incompatible with the laws and policy of the United States and the State of Georgia. Provides ways in which incompatible laws may not be applied or enforced by courts of state. In Senate Committee on Judiciary. Died in committee when legislature adjourned.
Indiana HB 1166 Provides that a court may not apply, enforce, or grant comity, res judicata, claim preclusion, or issue preclusion to a foreign law, ruling, or judgment if doing so would violate the fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Indiana. Provides that a provision in a contract or agreement: (1) that provides for the choice of foreign laws in its interpretation; or (2) that provides for the choice of venue or forum; and that would result in a violation of a fundamental liberty, right, or privilege guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Indiana is void and unenforceable. Prohibits a court from granting certain motions if the transfer is likely to affect the constitutional rights of the nonmoving party. Provides that a court may not require or authorize any court to: (1) adjudicate or prohibit a religious organization from adjudicating ecclesiastical matters; or (2) determine or interpret the doctrine of a religious organization. Died in House Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Indiana SB 36 Prohibits the enforcement of a foreign law (defined as a law established and used outside the jurisdiction of the United States) if the enforcement would violate a right granted by the Indiana or United States Constitution. Provides that a provision in a contract or agreement calling for the application of foreign law is not enforceable and is void if the provision cannot be modified, unless the contract explicitly states that it will be enforced in accordance with foreign law. Prohibits a court from granting certain motions to transfer a case to another jurisdiction if the transfer is likely to affect the constitutional rights of the nonmoving party. Died in Senate Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Indiana SB 90 Prohibits the enforcement of a foreign law (defined as a law established and used outside the jurisdiction of the United States) if the enforcement would violate a right granted by the Indiana or United States Constitution. Provides that a provision in a contract or agreement between natural persons calling for the application of foreign law is not enforceable and is void if the provision cannot be modified. Prohibits a court from granting certain motions to transfer a case to another jurisdiction if the transfer is likely to affect the constitutional rights of the nonmoving party. Died in Senate Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Iowa HB 489 Defines “foreign law, legal code, or system” as “any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including but not limited to international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals.” Provides “It is the public policy of this state that the primary factor which a court, administrative agency, arbitrator, mediator, or other entity or person acting under the authority of state law shall consider in granting comity to a decision rendered under any foreign law, legal code, or system against a person in this state is whether the decision rendered violated any right of the person in this state guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of Iowa, the Constitution of the United States, or any statute enacted or decision issued under the constitution of the state of Iowa or the United States.” Died in House Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Iowa HB 575 Enacts “Iowa Freedom and Sovereignty Act.” Defines “Foreign law” as “any law enacted by a jurisdiction or a governmental or quasi-governmental body other than the federal government or a state of the United States. “Foreign law” includes a religious law, legal code, accord, or ruling promulgated or made by an international organization, tribunal, or formal or informal administrative body.” Provides “any foreign law or other law that is in conflict with the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, or the Constitution of the State of Iowa shall not have force or effect in this state…It is the public policy of this state that the only factor that a court, administrative agency, arbitrator, mediator, or other person acting under authority of this state’s laws shall consider in granting comity to a decision rendered under a foreign law that affects a sovereign citizen of this state is whether the decision violates the sovereign citizen’s rights under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Iowa.” Died in House State Government Committee when legislature adjourned.
Iowa HJR 14 (Constitutional Amendment) Provides the state courts “when exercising judicial power, shall uphold and adhere to the law as provided in the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Iowa, the United States Code, federal regulations, established common law, the Iowa Code, the Iowa administrative code, and if necessary the law of another state of the United States provided the law of the other state does not include Sharia law. The courts shall not use the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law. The provisions of this section shall apply to all cases before the respective courts including but not limited to cases of first impression.” Died in House Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Iowa SB 2198 Enacts “Iowa Freedom and Sovereignty Act.” Defines “Foreign law” as “any law enacted by a jurisdiction or a governmental or quasi-governmental body other than the federal government or a state of the United States. “Foreign law” includes a religious law, legal code, accord, or ruling promulgated or made by an international organization, tribunal, or formal or informal administrative body.” Provides “any foreign law or other law that is in conflict with the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, or the Constitution of the State of Iowa shall not have force or effect in this state…It is the public policy of this state that the only factor that a court, administrative agency, arbitrator, mediator, or other person acting under authority of this state’s laws shall consider in granting comity to a decision rendered under a foreign law that affects a sovereign citizen of this state is whether the decision violates the sovereign citizen’s rights under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Iowa.” Died in Senate State Government Committee when legislature adjourned.
Kansas HB 2087 Defines “foreign law,” “legal code” or “system” means any law, legal code or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies or other formal or informal tribunals. Provides “Any court, arbitration, tribunal or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights and privileges granted under the United States and Kansas constitutions.” Approved by full House 3/30/11. In Senate Committee on Judiciary. Carried over from 2011 session. Replaced with unrelated amendment text 5/10/11.
Kansas SB 79 ORIGINAL: Amends the state debt setoff law to provide that the collection assistance fee for all debts owed to a court shall be paid by the debtor as an additional cost, rather than deducted from the debts owed to a court. AS HOUSE AMENDED: Defines “foreign law,” “legal code” or “system” means any law, legal code or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies or other formal or informal tribunals. Provides “Any court, arbitration, tribunal or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights and privileges granted under the United States and Kansas constitutions.” Signed into law by Governor 5/21/12.
Kentucky HB 386 Establishes legislative intent that the rights of an individual afforded under the Constitutions of the Commonwealth and the United States take precedence over the application of any foreign law in any judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding. Strictly construe waivers of constitutional rights Provides exceptions for corporate entities Prohibits choice of venue outside of the Commonwealth or United States to preserve the constitutional rights of the person against whom enforcement is sought. Died in House Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
Michigan HB 4769 Defines “foreign law,” as “any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals.” Provides “A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, mediation, or enforcement authority shall not enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States.” In House Committee on Judiciary. Motion to discharge from committee made 9/12/12; to be voted on 11/27/12.
Michigan SB 701 Defines “foreign law,” as “any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals.” Provides “A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, mediation, or enforcement authority shall not enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States.” In Senate Committee on Government Operations.
Minnesota SB 2281 Provides “A court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision violates the public policy of this state and is void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on a law, legal code, or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the Minnesota Constitution and the United States Constitution, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the Minnesota Constitution.” Withdrawn by author 3/5/12.
Mississippi HB 2 Provides “”Foreign law” means any law, rule, or legal code or system established and used or applied in a jurisdiction outside of the states or territories of the United States…A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, mediation, or enforcement authority shall not enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” Died in House Judiciary A Committee when legislature adjourned.
Mississippi HB 698 Prohibit use of international or Sharia law by state’s judiciary. Died in House Judiciary A Committee when legislature adjourned.
Missouri HB 1512 Provides court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any foreign law, legal code, or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Missouri constitutions, including, but not limited to, due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state. Approved by full House 3/29/12. Died in Senate General Laws Committee when legislature adjourned.
Missouri SB 676 Mandates that any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling shall be unenforceable if based on a foreign law that does not grant the parties the same rights as the parties have under the United States and Missouri constitutions. Approved by Senate General Laws Committee 2/28/12. Died on Senate floor when legislature adjourned.
Nebraska LB 647 Declares a court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings on any foreign law, legal code, or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decisions the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Nebraska. Died in Senate Judiciary Committee when legislature adjourned.
New Hampshire HB 1422 Declares that no New Hampshire court shall enforce foreign law or a state law enforcing foreign law if such enforcement violates an individual’s or corporation’s rights under the New Hampshire constitution or the United States Constitution. Referred to Interim Study by full Senate 5/16/12.
New Jersey AB 919 Provides that a foreign law may only be recognized by a court in New Jersey if it does not violate any right guaranteed by the Constitution of this State or of the United States of America. Formally withdrawn by author 5/10/12.
New Mexico SJR 14 (Constitutional Amendment) Provides “The courts provided for in this article, when exercising their judicial authority, shall uphold and adhere to the law as provided in the United States constitution, the constitution of New Mexico, statutes of the United States and federal regulations adopted pursuant thereto, established common law, New Mexico statutes and state regulations adopted pursuant thereto and, if necessary, the law of another state of the United States, provided that the law of the other state does not include Sharia law. The courts shall not consider or apply a rule of comity to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, international law, laws promulgated by foreign governments or national laws of foreign countries if the consideration or application of the foreign precepts or laws would violate the public policy of the state of New Mexico or reduce or impair the rights of any resident of the state of New Mexico existing under New Mexico statutes or common law governing child custody, rights of married persons, property rights, protection from domestic violence or any criminal law. The courts shall not consider or apply Sharia law. The provisions of this section shall apply to all cases before the respective courts, including, but not limited to, cases of first impression.” In Senate Rules Committee. Died when legislature adjourned.
North Carolina HB 640 Declares “it to be the public policy of this State to protect its citizens from the application of foreign law that would result in the violation of a right of a natural person guaranteed by the North Carolina Constitution or the United States Constitution. The public policies expressed in this section shall apply only to actual or foreseeable violations of a constitutional right resulting from the application of the foreign law.” In House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee C. Carried over from 2011 session.
Oklahoma HB 1552 Provides any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, rule, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions. Approved by full House 3/17/11. Died in Senate Rules Committee when legislature adjourned in 2012.
Pennsylvania HB 2029 Provides a tribunal shall not consider a foreign legal code or system which does not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights and privileges granted under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Pennsylvania. In House Judiciary Committee. Carried over from 2011 session.
South Carolina HB 3490 Provides “As used in this section, the term “foreign law” means any law, rule, or legal code or system established and used or applied in or by another jurisdiction outside of the United States or its territories…A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, mediation, or enforcement authority may not enforce a foreign law if it would violate a constitutionally guaranteed right of this State or of the United States. The provisions of this section apply only to actual or foreseeable violations of the constitutional rights of a person caused by the application of the foreign law.” In House Judiciary Committee. Carried over from 2011 session.
South Carolina SB 444 Provides “As used in this section, the term ‘foreign law’ means any law, rule, or legal code or system established and used or applied in or by another jurisdiction outside of the United States or its territories…A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, mediation, or enforcement authority may not enforce a foreign law if it would violate a constitutionally guaranteed right of this State or of the United States. The provisions of this section apply only to actual or foreseeable violations of the constitutional rights of a person caused by the application of the foreign law.” In Senate Judiciary Committee. Carried over from 2011 session.
South Dakota HB 1253 ORIGINAL: “No court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative mediation or enforcement authority may render any judgment predicated on any religious code or enforce any provisions of any religious code.” AS AMENDED: “No court, administrative agency, or other governmental agency may enforce any provisions of any religious code.” Signed into law by Governor 3/12/12.
South Dakota SB 136 ORIGINAL: Provides any ruling or decision that makes use of international or foreign law is void and unenforceable if the court bases its ruling or decision in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any foreign law, legal code, or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the constitutions of the United States and South Dakota, including due process of law, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically provided by the constitution of this state. Foreign law, legal code, or system is any foreign law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals. Specifies the term foreign law does not include any tribal laws of the Native American tribes in the state. AS AMENDED: “No court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative mediation or enforcement authority may render any judgment predicated on any religious code or enforce any provisions of any religious code.” Deferred to 41st day (i.e. killed) by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/2/12.
Virginia HB 631 Provides that court decisions and contracts and other agreements will be void as violative of the public policy of the Commonwealth where such decisions or contracts are based on foreign law, i.e., law applied in a jurisdiction outside of the United States, where the application of such foreign law would violate a person’s rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Constitution of Virginia. Continued to 2013 by House Committee for Courts of Justice 2/10/12.
Virginia HB 825 Prohibits any Virginia court or administrative agency from applying the law of any jurisdiction outside of the United States and its territories unless the application is required by the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, or any federal or state law. Approved by House Committee for Courts of Justice 2/3/12. Continued to 2013 by House Committee for Courts of Justice 2/10/12.
West Virginia HB 3220 Provides “”foreign law, legal code or system” means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals…It is the public policy of this state that the primary factor which a court, administrative agency, arbitrator, mediator or other entity or person acting under the authority of state law shall consider in granting comity to a decision rendered under any foreign law, legal code or system against a natural person in this state is whether the decision rendered either violated or would violate any right of the natural person in this state guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of West Virginia or the United States Constitution or any statute or decision under those Constitutions.” In House Judiciary Committee. Carried over from 2011 session. Died when legislature adjourned.