Gavel Grab

Use of Foreign Law in State Courts is Targeted

It’s a major trend: Legislators in 21 states are weighing proposals laden with a controversial message to judges. The proposals would bar courts from applying other nations’ laws or legal codes in an array of cases.

Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona have recently put versions of these laws into the statute books, and Oklahoma revised its constitution with a similar provision in 2010, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

Critics say the measures are unneeded, unconstitutional and inspired by anti-Muslim bigotry. “It’s an election year, and far too often we’re seeing this kind of rhetoric playing on the fears of the voters,”  state Sen. Nan Rich of Florida, a Democrat, told the newspaper.

The “American laws for American courts” movement, as it is called, has arisen largely from efforts of some groups that contend Islamic Sharia law and to a lesser degree the laws of other countries are infiltrating courtrooms and domestic life.

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