Update: Court temporarily blocks Islamic law ban
A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a constitutional amendment that would have banned Sharia law in Oklahoma.
“U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled Monday morning in Oklahoma City following a brief hearing,” the Associated Press reported. “It prevents the state election board from certifying the results of Tuesday’s general election in which the amendment was approved by 70 percent of the voters.”
“The order will remain in effect until a Nov. 22 hearing on a requested preliminary injunction.”
Original story continues below…
Residents in Oklahoma thought they were voting to ban Sharia law last Tuesday but it turns out that the new constitutional amendment may also extend to the Ten Commandments.
The Oklahoma ballot measure orders judges not to consider Islamic or international law when deciding cases.
But Rick Tepker, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Law believes the “Save Our State” constitutional amendment may have the unwanted side effect of preventing judges from referencing the Ten Commandments. Tepker called the measure “a mess.”
“Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don’t cry,” he told CNN. “I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn’t that a precept of another culture and another nation? The result of this is that judges aren’t going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin.”
Prior to the amendment passing, Tepker explained to a panel at Oklahoma University that the ballot measure could disrupt Oklahoma commercial contracts.
“Oklahoma is getting an increasing amount of business overseas, and if this measure passes, it may make foreign business partners tentative to sign contracts with us,” he said. “It’s an unpredictable, unforeseen effect, and I don’t think [co-author Rep. Rex Duncan] and the other legislative sponsors even considered that, because they were trying to get something else out of it.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit two days after the ban passed saying it violates the First Amendment.
“Disfavoring Islam, or any religion, is a violation of the First Amendment,” according to CAIR executive director Muneer Awad. “Second, it renders all international treaties invalid in our courts.”
“We have a handful of politicians who have pushed an amendment onto our state ballot and then conducted a well-planned and well-funded campaign of misinformation and fear,” Awad said.