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In the April update (located here) there were 44 bills in 21 states seek to ban court use of sharia/international law. There have been no new bills, but almost all existing ones have either died or failed to advance in the last several weeks. As of today, the status of the 44 break down as follows:
20 died due to adjournment or had been rejected by their respective legislatures.
11 failed to make it out of committee in their originating house before the legislature’s internal deadline.
1 failed to make it out of committee in the second house before the legislature’s internal deadline (Oklahoma HB 1552).
1 was signed into law (Arizona’s HB 2064 on April 12).
11 remain at least theoretically active.
Of the active, only three moved in the last month.
- Texas: One of the House bills was approved in committee, but with a massive shift in wording. HB 911 was originally a broad-based ban on the use of foreign law “if the application of that law would violate a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the constitution of this state.” As amended, however, the ban applies only “on a matter arising under the Family Code.” As amended, the bill passed the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence on April 18.
- Missouri: The House approved one of its versions (HB 708). The Senate committee scrapped the House bill in favor of its own (SB 308).
Both use the same definition of “foreign law”
As used in this section, “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.
Both use nearly identical wording for what is banned (differences in bold).
House: Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision violates the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable if such 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 constitutions of this state and the United States.
Senate: 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 Missouri constitutions.
The big difference appears to be in the provisions related to contracts. The Senate version waives the ban on the use of “foreign law” where the clause is “capable of segregation” from the rest of the contract.
Minor differences include a provision in the House version that declares “The general assembly fully recognizes the right to contract freely under the laws of this state, and also recognizes that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed in accordance with the state’s interest to protect and promote rights and privileges granted under the constitutions of this state and the United States.” Moreover, the House version would amend Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 1 (Laws in Force and Construction of Statutes) while the Senate version adds to Chapter 506 (Commencement of Actions and General Provisions).
Full roster of bills introduced in 2011 and their status after the jump.
Continue reading Bans on court use of sharia/international law: Law in Arizona, bills advance in Missouri and Texas, failing in most states