Bans on court use of sharia/international law: new year means two dozen new bills

The new legislative year means a new wave of legislation that purport to ban the use by state courts of international or foreign law in general and sharia law in particular. In some instances, such as Oregon, this legislation has never previously been introduced in prior years.

The general pattern of the legislation this year has been to avoid the use of the word “sharia”, although 4 bills continue to specifically use the term. This appears to be done primarily in light of a federal court decision striking down a 2010 Oklahoma constitutional amendment that had used the word as being discriminatory for picking on sharia, and by extension Islam, in particular a decision upheld by the Tenth Circuit in 2012 and subsequent permanent injunction issued in August 2013.

The other aspect has been to specify that the bill, if enacted, would not apply to:

  1. harm or affect the right to contract
  2. corporations
  3. laws and court decisions of Native American tribes
  4. ecclesiastical matters/religious organizations

So far the bills have moved in Indiana (Senate) and Mississippi (House), while the Virginia version was withdrawn by the sponsor.

Details below the fold.

Bill
Sharia specifically mentioned
Does not affect right to contract freely/contract provisions
Does not apply to corporations
Does not apply to Native American tribal laws/court decisions.
Does not apply to ecclesiastical matters/religious orgs
Other
Status
X
X
X
X
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing 2/11/15.
X
X
X
X
Int’l arbitration exempt
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
Approved by full Senate 1/29/15.
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
In Joint Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
Approved by full House 2/5/15.
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
X
Died in Senate Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
X
Died in Senate Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
X
Hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee 2/6/15.
X
X
X
X
Hearing in Senate House Committee 2/3/15.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
Limited to marriage, a suit for dissolution of a marriage, or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship in this state
Prefiled (no committee).
X
Prefiled (no committee).
Prefiled (no committee).
X
X
X
Prefiled (no committee).
Withdrawn at the request of patron in Courts of Justice 1/12/15.
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
In Senate Law & Justice Committee.