Oklahoma’s Reactionary Politics

The citizens of Oklahoma recently agreed to SQ 755 which amends their state constitution and bans Oklahoma courts from considering Islamic law and international laws or treaties when rendering decisions.

This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.

The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties.

Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.

I’m not sure why the citizens of Oklahoma think they have to fear Islamic law will become a problem for them, however several proponents of the measure cited what is happening in European countries as the impetus for such measures here in America.  No doubt the visual elements, absent reasonable discussion, of Muslims and the conflicts between them and their countrymen in faraway places is enough to scare Americans into accepting what may be unconstitutional, dare one say, fascist remedies at home.

CAIR has already filed a suit to ban the enactment of  the change on very good grounds

The Establishment Clause

The First Amendment directs all government bodies to “make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” This measure violates that basic principle of American law and governance by specifically targeting one faith and one religious community.

Separation of Powers

Our federal system and our state system is in part governed by the concept of separation of powers. One branch of government cannot restrict what another branch of government can consider in terms of doing its job — in this case, deciding cases.

Supremacy Clause

International law refers to the conduct of the relationships between sovereign nations. … International law is, according to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the law of the United States of America.

It will prevent Oklahoma courts from implementing international agreements, honoring international arbitrations, honoring major international human rights treaties, honoring marriages and divorces from other countries, and will cost jobs by sending the message that contracts between Oklahoma companies and international partners will not be enforceable. Oklahoma could become the only state in the nation incapable of enforcing international business law.

Oklahoma is a state with the second largest number of native Americans living in its borders and due to the language of the measure voted on, there could be a negative impact between the State and its native population as well….something the REAL Americans have already picked up on

While aimed at prohibiting the influence of Islamic law on Oklahoma court decisions, the text of the proposed amendment reveals that it could also damage the sovereignty of all Oklahoma tribes in the process.It completely ignores the possibility that an Oklahoma state court may be called upon to apply the law of any of the 39 Indian tribes located with the borders of Oklahoma to resolve a dispute….

the proposed constitutional amendment inhibits state courts from looking to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures for a decision.  The language of this proposed amendment starkly reminds us that some Oklahoma lawmakers forgot that our nation and state were built on the principles, blood, and backs of  other nations and cultures,  namely, our tribes.  It also ignores that Oklahoma tribes have become valuable economic partners with the State that it cannot afford to ignore or exclude.


As an aside, with over 50 casinos in Oklahoma all owned by native American tribes, the economic impact such a law could have on the local economy could be devastating.   The provision that speaks to not entertaining international law in resolving disputes could also have an affect on Oklahoma’s dealing with foreign companies located in that state. Oklahoma businesses that deal with companies overseas also could feel the side effects from the state questions.  Transactions between companies rely on international treaties to uphold contracts but with the state question banning courts from making rulings based on “international law,” instability of how state judges can rule on these types of cases could be the end product.  Of course, no one in their right mind would want to invest in an area of instability.

Finally, the law could adversely affect the very people the forces behind the law want to protect, or think they are protecting….i.e. the followers of the Judaeo-Christian ethic.  According to one legal jurist

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

Chaos is the word to describe, for now, what this legislation the citizens of Oklahoma have accepted would make for their near future, and it all stems from a manufactured fear that they have no basis in fact to entertain.  The concept of Sharia they are so concerned about is nothing more than the desire of Oklahoma citizens who are Muslims to have follow personal law based on their religious beliefs.  Laws of inheritance, wills, marriage all of which can be easily codified under acceptable American law.  It would have no bearing, nor could it ever, on anyone who does not accept the premise of that law, namely non Muslims.  Conversely any Islamic concept that is in direct conflict with US law, Oklahoma Muslims are bound by their faith not to assert or face whatever legal consequences coming their way for breaking US law. Without a doubt, the people behind this anti-Sharia movement in Oklahoma do not have the best interests of their constituents at heart; rather their motivation is purely personal, political and perhaps even financial.  There’s gold in the political landscape of America’s Islamophobia and the folks in Oklahoma are clearly mining it!

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