Alabama Amendment 1: State would become tenth in nation to ban state courts from referencing international or foreign law; would also deny full faith and credit to court decisions from other states

Alabama’s Amendment 1 is just the latest in a series of efforts, detailed on this blog over the last 5 years, to ban state courts from referencing international/foreign law in general or sharia law in particular. If approved by voters, Alabama would join ten other states with similar bans. Alabama’s, however, stands out as going even further than the others, prohibiting Alabama state courts from giving full faith and credit to the decisions of courts in other states in certain cases.

2014

Florida SB 386 was limited to Family law (Chapter 61 & 88 Florida Statutes)

Before enforcing a judgment or order of a court of a foreign country, a court must review the judgment or order to ensure that it complies with the rule of comity. A judgment or order of a court of a foreign country is not entitled to comity if the parties were not given adequate notice and the opportunity to be heard, the foreign court did not have jurisdiction, or the judgment or order of the foreign court offends the public policy of this state. As used in this subsection, a “ foreign court ” or “ court of a foreign country ” includes any court or tribunal that has jurisdiction under the laws of that nation over the subject of matters governed by chapter 61 or chapter 88.

2013

Alabama SB 4 (now on ballot as Amendment 1 of 2014)

(8) Article IV, Section 1, of the United States Constitution provides that full faith and credit shall be given by each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states. Provided, however, when any such public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of another state violate the public policy of the State of Alabama, the State of Alabama is not and shall not be required to give full faith and credit thereto.

(c) 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.

Missouri SB 267 vetoed by governor

North Carolina HB 552 was limited to Divorce, Alimony, and Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Chapter 50 and Chapter 50A of the General Statutes)

A court, administrative agency, arbitrator, mediator, or other entity or person acting under the authority of State law shall not apply a foreign law in any legal proceeding involving, or recognize a foreign judgment involving, a claim for absolute divorce, divorce from bed and board, child custody, child support, alimony, or equitable distribution if doing so would violate a fundamental constitutional right of one or more natural persons who are parties to the proceeding…The provisions in this act shall apply only to proceedings or matters under Chapter 50 and Chapter 50A of the General Statutes.

Oklahoma HB 1060

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 foreign law 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, 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.

Washington State SB 5797

No specialty or therapeutic court established by court rule shall enforce a foreign law, if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.

2012

Kansas SB 79

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 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 Kansas constitutions, including, but not limited to, equal protection, due process, free exercise of religion, freedom of speech or press, and any right of privacy or marriage.

South Dakota HB 1253

No court, administrative agency, or other governmental agency may enforce any provisions of any religious code.

2011

Arizona HB 2064

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 or conflict with the laws of the United States or of this state.

2010

Oklahoma HJR 1056 was approved by voters but struck down by federal courts as targeting Muslims by specific reference to “sharia.”

The Courts provided for in subsection A of this section, when exercising their judicial authority, shall uphold and adhere to the law as provided in the United States Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, the United States Code, federal regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, established common law, the Oklahoma Statutes and rules promulgated pursuant thereto, and if necessary the law of another state of the United States provided the law of the other state does not include Sharia Law, in making judicial decisions. The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law. The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all cases before the respective courts including, but not limited to, cases of first impression.

Louisiana HB 785 & SB 460

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.

Tennessee HB 3768 & SB 3740

Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, and subject to provisions of superseding federal treaties, any otherwise enforceable contract which incorporates any substantive or procedural law, legal code or legal system of another state, foreign jurisdiction or foreign country that would violate rights and privileges granted under the United States or Tennessee Constitution is declared to be against public policy of this state and is unenforceable in this state.

 

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  1. Pingback: Alabama Amendment 1: State would become tenth in nation to ban state courts from referencing international or foreign law; would also deny full faith and credit to court decisions from other statesRich Sexton For Congress | RichSextonForCongress

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