Amendment banning ‘foreign law’ in Alabama courts passes; will be added to Alabama Constitution

alac2al.com, By Greg Garrison:

Amendment One, an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits foreign law being used to decide cases in Alabama courts, has passed easily and will be added to the Alabama Constitution.
Eric Johnston, the Birmingham attorney who drafted the amendment, felt vindicated after it was described as an attack on Muslims.
“I put in about three years of work on it,” Johnston said, after AP and Politico declared that the amendment passed. The amendment passed by a wide margin of about 72 percent to 28 percent with 96 percent of precincts counted.
Johnston drafted the amendment for State Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, who sponsored it. Johnston said it had a wider application than banning Sharia law, the Muslim code of law and morality. “We were just trying to do something legal, not political,” Johnston said.
A legislative committee now will decide where the amendment fits in the Constitution and how it will be numbered, under which article, in the published code, Johnston said.

Johnston said it does not undermine the religious rights of Muslims or anyone else, but does prevent lawyers from arguing from Sharia law in an Alabama custody case, for example.
“Your constitutional rights are not affected by it,” Johnston said. “We’ve got a religious freedom amendment in Alabama. All it says is pay attention to the religious freedom amendment. Women’s rights are compromised by Sharia rights if a lawyer in a custody case says, ‘Islam requires you to do this.’ It’s a help to judges. It doesn’t create any new laws.”
Some argued that the amendment could possibly interfere with foreign marriages and adoptions.
“It does not affect those rights at all,” Johnston said. “If you get married outside the country, that marriage is going to be recognized. If you go to Russia and adopt a child, that adoption is going to be recognized. That was a red herring to scare people away. Those people who said that are ridiculous. They were totally wrong.”

Johnston was not surprised it became a political controversy.
“You put in a lot of hard work, a lot of time explaining it to everybody, then everybody takes shots at it,” Johnston said.
“I’ve been working on religious freedom issues for 30 years,” Johnston said. “My approach is to protect people’s rights and liberties. That’s what this is. I did it because I thought it was the right thing. There’s no change in law, it’s a reminder to the judges that we need to stick to Alabama’s laws and public policy.”

Also see:

ALAC Protects Constitutional Rights Against Foreign Laws – Including Shariah

american-justice2 (1)ACT! for America:

Recently, there has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation about efforts in Oklahoma to prevent the infiltration and insinuation of Shariah law in the Sooner State.

The confusion stems from a ruling earlier this month by Federal Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange requiring the state of Oklahoma to pay the legal fees of a plaintiff who successfully sued the state over the so-called “Save Our State Amendment” from way back in 2010.

This was just the latest legal setback for that beleaguered initiative.

On 15 August 2013, the same US District Judge, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, struck down the amendment (also known as SQ755) that forbade Oklahoma’s courts from considering Islamic law (Shariah) in judicial decisions.

SQ755 had overwhelmingly passed a vote of the people in Oklahoma in November 2010.

This decision was not a surprise and echoed an earlier ruling by the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals also in 2010. As detailed in this article, SQ755 contained several flaws which rendered it counterproductive:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/american_laws_for_american_courts.html

Fortunately, as ACT! For America members know, there is an effective and constitutional alternative to measures such as SQ755 and, thanks to the foresight and tenacity of State Representative Sally Kern, Oklahoma joined a host of other states last spring in passing it into law. That law is called American Laws for American Courts (ALAC).

Authored by Representative Kern, ALAC passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives 85-7 and the Oklahoma Senate 40-3. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on 22 April 2013.

The passage of ALAC in Oklahoma was the culmination of a 3-year effort by Representative Kern that she embarked upon when she learned that SQ755 was likely to run into trouble in the courts.

ALAC has now been passed into law in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina. A version of ALAC also passed into law for specialty courts in the state of Washington. Moreover, ALAC passed the Alabama legislature overwhelmingly last year as a constitutional amendment and goes to a vote of the people on the ballot in their next statewide election in November.

ALAC remedies the flaws in Oklahoma’s SQ 755, and in many ways takes a diametrically opposite approach to SQ 755:

• ALAC is facially neutral. In an honest debate, it cannot be accused of discriminating against any religion or protected class.

• ALAC is based on a completely different legal premise from SQ 755’s. Rather than seeking a ban on foreign or international law, ALAC seeks to preserve the constitutional rights and state public policy protections of American citizens and legal residents, in cases involving foreign laws in the particular dispute being adjudicated. If a case arises in which a foreign law or foreign legal doctrine is involved in a dispute in a state court, ALAC prevents the use of that foreign law or foreign legal doctrine if any of the parties’ fundamental constitutional rights or state public policy would be violated in the process. This is very different from a blanket ban on foreign laws.

• ALAC is not vague. It provides specific guidance for judges on complex legal issues involving comity, choice of law, choice of forum, conflict of laws and forum non conveniens, protecting fundamental constitutional rights.

Because of the careful planning and thought behind ALAC’s wording, in contrast to SQ 755, from a practical standpoint, it is effective in preventing the enforcement of any foreign law – including shariah law – that would violate U.S. and state constitutional liberties or state public policy.

And the need for an effective law preserving constitutional rights against the enforcement of unconstitutional foreign law is both real and urgent: an independent study found 50 cases in 23 states where shariah law had been introduced into state court cases, including some appellate and trial court cases where the judges ruled for shariah law over U.S. law. Most victims of foreign laws in these cases had come to America for freedom and individual liberty – including American Muslims seeking to escape shariah.

It is important to point out that ALAC has been in force since 2010 and has never been challenged in court, simply because there is no basis on which to challenge a law that expressly protects constitutional rights.

Muslim Brotherhood organizations, such as the HAMAS-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have opposed ALAC, just as they opposed SQ755. This shows their true motivation; they are not interested in freedom, liberty and our constitution that guarantees them. CAIR has another, more sinister, hate-filled agenda.

Nevertheless, the states that have passed ALAC, such as Oklahoma, have moved to prevent the kind of “creeping shariah” that has occurred in Western Europe, Great Britain in particular. Despite what you might read from the so-called “mainstream” media, the threat from shariah is real and must be guarded against. It is naïve to think that “it can’t happen here.” Shariah is ALREADY here and groups like CAIR are promoting it actively.

Thanks to Representative Kern and her colleagues in the Oklahoma legislature, with the support of ACT! For America’s thousands of members in Oklahoma, we have made sure that the laws applied in Oklahoma courts will be AMERICAN laws.

FLORIDA LEGISLATURE MOVES TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS FROM FOREIGN LAWS

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From ACT! for America:

This week, the Florida state legislature passed SB 386, a bill supported by ACT! For America that will help protect Floridians from foreign law that is inconsistent with American values, such as Islamic sharia law.

There has been a great deal of mis- and disinformation about SB 386, so we wanted to set the record straight on what the bill accomplishes.

When hopefully signed into law by Governor Scott, the bill will:

  • Help protect Florida parents who face loss of their children to a foreign custody judgment;
  • Help protect spouses who face unfair foreign judgments of divorce, spousal support, or marital property distributions;
  • Help protect parents and spouses from marital contracts (including Islamic marital contracts often named mahrs) that would force decisions regarding child custody, spousal support and marital property distributions to be decided in foreign courts or under foreign law in American courts;
  • And, help protect parents and spouses from having disputes regarding child custody, spousal support and marital property distributions from being dismissed by Florida courts in favor of being decided in foreign courts.

Although American and Florida courts have held in the past that foreign law should not be applied when the foreign law offends public policy, this concept has not previously been strengthened by statute. Further, under current Florida child custody statutes a judge can refuse to enforce a foreign custody judgment only “if the child custody law of a foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights.” Unfortunately, statements by the U.S. State Department suggest that “fundamental principles of human rights” should be interpreted more narrowly than how most Americans would interpret the phrase. SB 386 authorizes a Florida judge to refuse to enforce a foreign custody judgment under the much broader standard of whether the judgment offends the public policy of Florida.

Therefore, the most important effect of the change in the law in Florida would be to protect parents from losing their children to foreign custody decrees, which has happened before.

For example, a Maryland appellate court, in Hosain v. Malik, enforced a Pakistani custody order, issued under a sharia rule granting sole custody to the father when the child reaches the age of seven, handing a little girl who was being cared for by her mother over to the father.

Further, a California appellate court, in In re Marriage of Malak, enforced a Lebanese custody decree granting custody to the husband, even though the trial court had found that the wife had been denied due process in Lebanon, and the Lebanese Islamic court did not base its ruling upon the best interests of the child.

SB 386 grants Florida parents the ability to dissuade Florida courts from following such shocking rulings enforcing foreign sharia judgments, and thereby not lose their children to similar rulings.

Much has been made of the fact that the SB 386 applies to family law. From a practical standpoint, this represents no real difference when compared to American Laws for American Courts laws in other states, since 80% or more of cases in US state courts in which sharia has arisen involve family law disputes.

SB 386 is a significant step forward in protecting Florida’s court systems from the infiltration of sharia law and in protecting Florida’s citizenry from all offensive forms of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines.

ACT! for America is a 501 (c) 4 non-profit, non partisan organization that educates and empowers citizens to help play a role in enhancing our nation’s public safety. Today, ACT! has 280,000 members and 875 chapters nationwide including chapters in 11 countries around the world as far as Australia, South Africa and Israel.

Rabbi Hausman’s Letter to Georgia Legislators on America Law for American Courts

Rabbi Jonathan Hausman(1)

New English Review,

By Rabbi Jonathan Hausman:

Re: HB 895 – Foreign Law; prohibit the application of foreign law in Georgia courts; violations of rights guaranteed natural citizens by U.S. and Georgia Constitutions

Dear Congressman  Hightower,

My name is Rabbi Jonathan Hausman.  I have a BA in Judaic Studies, MA in International Affairs concentrating on the Middle East (both degrees from The George Washington University), JD from Emory University (licensed to practice in the State of Connecticut and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania), and my Rabbinic degree from Kollel Lomdei Torah of The Tifereth Israel Rabbinical Yeshiva.  I spent a great deal of time living and studying in the Middle East having lived and worked in Israel and studied at The American University of Cairo.  I read, speak and write Hebrew and Arabic, and am conversant in Jewish and Islamic sacralized texts and literature.

It has come to my attention that representatives of the Anti-Defamation League gave testimony opposing the aforementioned legislation SB 895 – Foreign Law; prohibit the application of foreign law in Georgia courts; violations of rights guaranteed natural citizens by U.S. and Georgia Constitutions

I write to you in response as one who possesses the unique skills to plumb the sources of two traditions (Judaism and Islam) along with the requisite legal training appertaining to US law and Constitutional governance.

Indeed, a comprehensive study was undertaken by the Center for Security Policy (CSP) in 2011 which uncovered the extent of the use of Sharia (Islamic Law) as the basis for legal decisions.  50 Appellate court cases from 23 States were reviewed in this study.  Most of the cases referenced in this study involve Muslim women and children, who were asking American courts to preserve their rights to equal protection and due process in cases dealing with divorce and child custody. These families came to America for freedom from the discriminatory and cruel laws of Shariah.  However, all 50 Appellate decisions dealt with the application of Sharia in contravention to the Constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

The CSP study’s findings suggest that Sharia law has entered into state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy. Some commentators have said there are no more than one or two cases of Sharia law in U.S. state court cases; yet the Center for Security Policy found 50 significant cases just from the small sample of appellate published cases in 2011.  The number of lower court decisions that did not result in appeals is not known as such cases are generally not reported.

With all due respect to the claims of the ADL that the aforementioned legislation’s supposed purpose is to counter the infiltration of our judicial and legal system by Sharia (Islamic) law while subsequently claiming that no Georgia court decision, or any other court decision, demonstrating an actual need for this legislation can be found is demonstrably incorrect.

Many have asserted with certainty that state court judges will always reject any foreign law, including Sharia law, when it conflicts with the Constitution or state public policy; once again, the Center’s study found 15 Trial Court cases, and 12 Appellate Court cases, where Sharia was found to be applicable in these particular instances. The facts are the facts: some judges are making decisions deferring to Sharia law even when those decisions conflict with Constitutional protections.  The complete study is available at http://shariahinamericancourts.com/

Some have also claimed that such legislation is applicable to all religious law. So, for instance, the observant Jewish community regularly uses religious tribunals (Batei Din) to resolve all kinds of disputes, including divorce settlements, which often are the basis for civil court divorce decrees and orders. But this legislation would prevent a Jewish couple in Texas from voluntarily using a Bet Din to resolve their divorce settlement, and also would invalidate an out-of state divorce based on a Bet Din arbitration.   This is incorrect.

There is a basic Rabbinic principle that has operated since roughly the year 226 CE. That principle is known asDina d’malchuta Dina, the law of the country is binding and, in certain cases, is to be preferred to Jewish law/Halacha.  Rabbinical developments evidenced a practicality regarding dealing with and maintaining positive relationships with the governing non-Jewish civil society (e.g. Parthian and subsequent Sassanid Persian rulers of Babylonia) which surrounded the Jewish community.  This extended to the Jewish communities of Europe and, subsequently, transplanted to the United States.

While it is true that Jews maintained their own courts in certain locales during certain historical periods whose decisions were enforced by the secular authorities, such Rabbinical court decisions always were set aside if there was a conflict with the society at large.  As a member of the Rabbinate who engages frequently with many different issues regarding matters of personal status (marriage, divorce, property settlements, etc.), I can attest to one basic fact of legal life.  If a Get (Jewish bill of divorce) is issued by a husband to a wife without a civil divorce, that couple is still married in every jurisdiction in this country.  This is just one example amongst many.

Halacha/Jewish Law has this precept that one must be reconciled to changed circumstances regarding government, and that civil law is necessary for the functioning of the greater society. The result was an internal recognition of Judaism’s non-supercessionist and non-conversionary character. According to the Prophet Nehemiah, Jews should obey the laws of their rulers (Nehemiah 9:37).  It extends to real property issues (after all, the government could/can confiscate property), common currency, taxes, recognition of administrative officers and documents and regulations issued by such authorities, as well as the appointed juridical positions within and outside of the Jewish community.

As for those issues dealing with personal piety (e.g. Kashruth, that is observance of the Jewish dietary rules), such only apply to Jews specifically and not to the world at large.  There is nothing coercive vis a vis general society.

Sharia, on its face might be described as the religious code for living the moral system according to Islamic tradition; perhaps, in the same way the Bible would serve for Christians. The difference is quite stark, however.

Sharia refers both to the Islamic system of law and the totality of the Islamic way of life. It is immutable, perfect, unchangeable, static, and unchanging.  Death penalty for apostasy, as well as homosexuality, adultery, freedom of speech issues when it comes to criticizing Islam or Muhammad or drawing satire cartoons, disfigurement for theft, depredations suffered by women (e.g. the increasing frequency of honor killings in the US protected under Shariah, female genital mutilation, child custody and absconding of minor children) and the irrelevancy of women’s testimony as well as lower percentage of inheritance and no rights regarding issues of child custody, plaintiffs exacting legal revenge (eye for an eye is taken literally), gambling, alcohol consumption all command exacting punishment under Sharia.

The only instance in the United States dealing with a criminal prosecution for female genital mutilation occurred in Georgia.  Furthermore, there are known to be two cases of children of a marriage between a non-Muslim American mother and a Saudi Muslim father who absconded with the children because Sharia law dictates that custody resides solely with the Muslim father and male relatives.

The United States has a Constitution under which the government functions, and the Bill of Rights which protects basic human rights and freedom – rights derived from the Almighty according to the secular foundational documents of these United States – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of education and freedom to organize political parties. The pertinent question regarding Sharia is thus.  Does Sharia, as a legal system act in consonance with the Constitutional legal principles so cherished by and supported by over two centuries of American case law or does it stand for a diminution of the rights of many segments of our population?  If the latter, then legislation such as HB 895, The application of foreign law and foreign forum selection in certain family law proceedings certainly is one of the surest methods to protect the Constitutional rights of parties in family law matters under Georgia law and practice, as well as in front of the Georgia Judiciary.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Jonathan H. Hausman

BA,MA, JD, Rabbinic Ordination

Spiritual Leader

Ahavath Torah Congregation

Stoughton, Massachusetts

Cc:  Congressman Wendell Willard, Chair, GA House Judiciary Committee

Congressman David Ralston, Speaker, GA State House

Congressman Alex Atwood, Secretary, Public Safety and Homeland Security

Committee

 

 

Islamist-Interfaith Alliance Battles Foreign Law Bans

IslamWillDominateWhiteHouseBy Ryan Mauro:

Shoulder-to-Shoulder, an interfaith coalition allied with the Islamic Society of North America, is mobilizing its supporters against state legislation that stops foreign law from superseding the Constitution. The Islamists’ non-Muslim allies are helping frame it as an unnecessary, bigoted initiative that threatens all people of faith.

The coalition is holding a webinar on February 27. The announcement correctly notes that current legislation does not mention Shariah, though it is covered under the terminology of “foreign law.” Seven states have passed such bills since 2010.

Shoulder-to-Shoulder’s description makes it sound like the legislation is a ban on foreign law influencing judges’ decision altogether. It states:

“Most religious laws that influence these contracts (like Jewish Halakha, Catholic Canon law, or Islamic Shariah law) were not developed within the United States and would be considered foreign law under such legislation. While anti-Muslim sentiment is still the motivating factor behind these laws, Americans of every faith should be concerned about their impact on religious freedom.”

This is an easily refutable misrepresentation of the bills, based on the American Laws for American Courts draft legislation. It does not ban religious contracts like those mentioned by Shoulder-to-Shoulder, nor is it a blanket ban on foreign law. It only applies when there is a conflict between the U.S. Constitution and foreign law in court and it victimizes no one, especially not Muslims because Muslim-Americans are benefactors of it.

2011 study found 50 cases where Shariah or foreign law based on Shariah influenced the court case. The American Public Policy Alliance has a list of 10 cases where a Muslim-American party objected to the role of Shariah. The summary is as follows:

“In cases 1-3, the Appellate Courts upheld Shariah law; in cases 4-7, the Trial Courts upheld Shariah, but the Appellate Courts reversed (protecting the litigant’s constitutional rights); in cases 8-10, both Trial and Appellate Courts rejected the attempts to enforce Shariah law.”

ALAC is sometimes criticized as unnecessary and driven by unsubstantiated paranoia. It is hard to imagine that an American judge would ever rule give foreign law precedence over American law. The American Public Policy Alliance explains that the bill fixes a troublesome loophole:

Most states merely state that foreign laws and judgments that violate the state’s “public policy” shall not be recognized. But the courts consistently rule that the state legislature has the responsibility to articulate clearly what the state’s public policy actually is.

The ALAC website points out the hypocrisy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In response to business dress codes enforced on Muslim-American women in France, CAIR communications director Ibrahim Hooper unwittingly supported the rationale behind ALAC.

“A discriminatory dress code implemented in France does not supersede American laws protecting the religious rights of American citizens,” he said. He said CAIR is “defending American law from foreign intrusion.”

The American-Islamic Forum for Democracy supports ALAC-type bills because it has seen how Shariah has affected Muslims in Europe. The bills’ purpose is not to pre-empt a hypothetical situation. It’s a reaction to what is actually happening right now.

2010 study found that Shariah courts in the United Kingdom lack accountability, to say the least. There are not clear standards for appointing judges and monitoring proceedings and rulings often conflict with British law. For example, British courts’ first priority is the interest of the child. Shariah courts rule that children automatically go into the custody of the father after a certain age.

The British Justice Ministry investigated Shariah courts and had to end give up because of a lack of cooperation from the court staffs.

The misrepresentations by Shoulder-to-Shoulder stem from its relationship with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation. The Foundation was another Brotherhood entity that was shut down for financing Hamas. This isn’t six degrees of separation: The Holy Land Foundation operated within ISNA, according to a 2009 ruling by a federal judge.

ISNA said on its website last month that it “founded” Shoulder-to-Shoulder to counter increasing bigotry against Muslims. Elsewhere on its website, ISNA saysit “helped convene” the coalition of 28 religious organizations. Whichever way it is worded, the point is that Shoulder-to-Shoulder is largely a product of ISNA.

And who is the ISNA official leading its interfaith campaign and, therefore, its work with Shoulder-to-Shoulder? Former Secretary-General Sayyid Syeed, who is seen in The Grand Deception documentary saying in 2006, “Our job is to change the constitution of America.” His current job title at ISNA is National Director of ISNA’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances.

Read more at Front Page

September 11, 2013 — Has Anything Changed?

change from nine elevenBy Citizen Warrior:

Has anything changed since 2001? In many ways it would be justifiable to answer no. Politicians and the media are still pitifully reluctant to speak honestly about anything Islam-related. Stealth jihad is still progressing, and bloody jihad is going on as before.

However, many important things have changed. Many more people have awakened to the fact that Islamic doctrine is dangerous to non-Muslims, and our growing numbers have allowed some good legislation to pass. ACT! for America’s membership is multiplying and its clout is growing along with it. Several states in the U.S. have passed American Laws for American Courts legislation, and more are in the process. But the one change that really stands out is the amount of good educational material available about Islam.

When the Towers came down, many of us tried to find answers. We wondered why it happened. Who did this and what motivated them? And those answers were hard to find. That has changed completely. When someone looks for information about Islam now, they can get real answers easily. If you Google the question, “Is Islam dangerous?” or “Does Islam promote violence?” or “Why do Muslims want to kill us?” you will find good answers on the first page of search results. The Koran, the Sira and the Hadith are available in readable form now. That wasn’t the case in 2001. And of course, web sites like WikiIslam.net and TheReligionofPeace.com and blogs and Facebook pages and so on are all over the place now.

People are continually waking up to the disturbing truth about Islamic doctrine. I hear from people all the time who have only recently started looking into Islam because of the Lee Rigby beheading or because of the Boston Marathon bombing. Maybe they were too young on 9/11 to grasp what had happened. But the point is, when people look for answers, now they can find them, so the pace of awakening our fellow non-Muslims is accelerating.

I know it may not seem like it in your personal life sometimes. You reach impasses with people. Some of your own family members might refuse to talk any more about it. But it is also true that sometimes you don’t realize you reached someone. You may have struck a nerve with them and even though they argued with you at the time, later they think about it or something else happens, like the Fort Hood shooting, or the Andy Long murder, and it becomes the last straw and they finally decide to look into it, and once someone looks into it sincerely, we gain another counterjihadist.

Some of us are finding new ways to reach people. Some have been creating excellent pamphlets and leaflets — which can help us reach people (some people are willing to read one just because it’s short). Lots of DVDs and YouTube videos have been created since 9/11. And books, of course. We recently published an article (here) about a group with a booth in Santa Monica on a main thoroughfare every Saturday night to engage people about Islam. One of the comments on that article is illustrative about how new approaches are stimulating creativity in others. The commenter wrote:

I stopped by on Saturday to see the table (I’m visiting Santa Monica). Very nice people! I’m so glad to see them out there. There were lots of Muslims passing by; some stopped to stare or argue, and my friend engaged one of them to try to hear “the other side,” but the only counterargument she got from him was, “This is crap.” If I were doing a table like this — and maybe someday I will be, in a different part of the country — I might want to try a few different ways to hook people and see what works best, like having a poster saying something like, “Could Islam rule the world?” or “Speak up for American freedoms” or “Some conspiracy theories are true” — leading to a graphic of the Muslim Brotherhood and its tentacles. Because people who aren’t already in the counterjihad probably have no idea why we’re “bashing” Islam and they won’t connect the dots, and making them aware in the first 30 seconds that there’s a specific threat — an international movement to take over the world for Islam — would be good. Just an idea to try. God bless these people for being out there.

People are awakening. And it is getting easier to help them awaken. That may seem like a small thing compared to the magnitude of what we are up against, but a little more knowledge is what motivated Flight 93 to stop the hijackers from reaching their intended target. Just a little more knowledge made the difference. You and I need to make sure the people in our lives have a little more knowledge about Islamic doctrine. Let’s roll.

American Laws for American Courts Protects Constitutional Rights against Foreign Laws

20120302_court+muslim+SHARIA+LAWFamily Security Matters, By Christopher Holton:

On Thursday, 15 August, US District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange struck down an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment (known as SQ755) that forbade Oklahoma’s courts from considering Islamic law (Shariah) in judicial decisions.

SQ755 had overwhelmingly passed a vote of the people in Oklahoma in November 2010.

This decision was not a surprise and echoed an earlier ruling by the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals back in 2010. As detailed in this article, SQ755 contained several flaws which rendered it counterproductive:

Fortunately, there is an effective and constitutional alternative to measures such as SQ755 and Oklahoma joined a host of other states this spring in passing it into law. That law is called American Laws for American Courts (ALAC).

Authored by Representative Sally Kern and Senator Gary Stanislawski of Oklahoma,  ALAC passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives 85-7 and the Oklahoma Senate 40-3. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on 22 April.

Versions of ALAC have now been signed into law in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma. A version of ALAC passed the Alabama legislature overwhelmingly as a constitutional amendment and goes to a vote of the people on the ballot in the next statewide election. A version of ALAC also passed both houses of the Missouri legislature but was vetoed by the governor; an override session is scheduled for September. Most recently, a version of ALAC passed the North Carolina Senate and House by a wide, bi-partisan margin and is awaiting the governor’s signature there.

ALAC remedies the flaws in Oklahoma’s SQ 755, and in many ways takes a diametrically opposite approach to SQ 755:

  • ALAC is facially neutral. In an honest debate, it cannot be accused of discriminating against any religion or protected class.
  • ALAC is based on a completely different legal premise from SQ 755′s.

Rather than seeking a ban on foreign or international law, ALAC seeks to preserve the constitutional rights and state public policy protections of American citizens and legal residents, in cases involving foreign laws in the particular dispute being adjudicated.  If a case arises in which a foreign law or foreign legal doctrine is involved in a dispute in a state court, ALAC prevents the use of that foreign law or foreign legal doctrine if any of the parties’ fundamental constitutional rights or state public policy would be violated in the process.  This is very different from a blanket ban on foreign laws.

  • ALAC is not vague. It provides specific guidance for judges on complex legal issues involving comity, choice of law, choice of forum, conflict of laws and forum non conveniens, protecting fundamental constitutional rights.

Because of the careful planning and thought behind ALAC’s wording, in contrast to SQ 755, from a practical standpoint, it is effective in preventing the enforcement of any foreign law – including in many cases, shariah law – that would violate U.S. and state constitutional liberties or state public policy.

And the need for an effective law preserving constitutional rights against the enforcement of unconstitutional foreign law is both real and urgent: an independent study conducted by the Center for Security Policy found fifty cases in 23 states where shariah law had been introduced into state court cases, including many appellate and trial court cases where the judges ruled for shariah law over U.S. law.  Most victims of foreign laws in these cases had come to America for freedom and individual liberty – including American Muslims seeking to escape shariah laws.

Christopher Holton is a Vice President with the Center for Security Policy and the Director of its Divest Terror Initiative. Chris Holton is a past president and marketing director of Blanchard & Co. and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit from 1990 to 2003. As chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit in 2000, he conceived and commissioned the Center for Security Policy special report Clinton’s Legacy: The Dangerous Decade. Holton is a member of the Board of Advisers of WorldTribune.com.

U.S. Islamists Press to Block Anti-Sharia Legislation

states enacting ALACBY CLARE LOPEZ:

As momentum builds across the U.S. to reinforce safeguards for the primacy of American laws in the U.S. legal system through legislation at the state level, the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters are beginning to panic.

To date, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have all enacted legislation that would ensure primacy for U.S. Constitutional law in cases where enforcing foreign laws or judgments, including Islamic law (sharia), “would deprive a party of a constitutional right or liberty,” as explained by David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC).

In mid-summer 2013, the North Carolina legislature, both House and Senate, passed HB 522, the Foreign Laws/Protect Constitutional Rights Bill, with broad bipartisan support. Not surprisingly, the HAMAS and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was named by the Justice Department an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation HAMAS terror funding trial, has mounted an email blitz campaign, urging North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to veto the bill instead of signing it.

Written in neutral language, this bill is modeled after American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) language offered by the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA). The North Carolina bill, now before Governor McCrory for signature into law, specifies that the intent of the measure is to “protect its citizens from the application of foreign law that would result in the violation of a fundamental constitutional right of a natural person.”

Thus, contrary to some of the criticism aimed at this bill, there is nothing in its language that would prohibit consideration of foreign law in North Carolina courts: it is only if and when application of such foreign law (sharia or any other) would deprive persons before a North Carolina court the rights to which they are entitled under the U.S. Constitution (and its derivative laws).

In such a case, American law would take precedence over foreign law. In cases that involve no conflict between U.S. law and foreign law, comity (mutual recognition of a respective country’s legislation) may be applied.

With the June 2011 publication by the Center for Security Policy (CSP) of a report entitled “Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of American Appellate Court Cases,” the American Public Policy Alliance took notice that Islamic law increasingly has entered into state court decisions in ways that conflict with the U.S. Constitution and state public policy.

Alarmingly, not only do some judges not understand what sharia is, but make decisions that defer to it even when those decisions conflict with U.S. Constitutional protections. Islamic law is antithetical to American laws, principles and traditions in many ways, but most specifically in its rejection — and even criminalization — of basic freedoms, including freedom of belief, press, speech, due process, equal protection under the law, privacy and the right to bear arms

Read more at The Clarion Project

 

More states move to ban foreign law in courts

Source: Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life Project Janet Loehrke and Kimberly Railey, USA TODAY

Source: Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project
Janet Loehrke and Kimberly Railey, USA TODAY

By Kimberly Railey, USA TODAY:

Some say that preventing judges from recognizing foreign law when issuing decisions could affect religious arbitration used to handle family and personal disputes.

A growing number of states are targeting what they see as a threat to their court systems: the influence of international laws.

North Carolina last month became the seventh state to pass legislation barring judges from considering foreign law in their decisions, including sharia. The bill awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

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CAIR asks national membership to bombard North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory with emails urging him to veto ALAC legislation

Please click here to send your email urging North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to sign HB 522 Application of Foreign Law into state law.

Contact information:

Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Phone: (919) 814-2000
Fax: (919) 733-2120

pat.mccrory@nc.gov

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Six other states — Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee — have already enacted similar legislation since 2010, and at least 25 have introduced such measures, according to the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project.

One exception to this trend is Missouri. In June, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed a foreign law bill, saying it would make international adoptions more difficult.

Sharia, or Islamic law, is both a moral code and religious law that governs all aspects of Muslim life, ranging from religious obligations to family relationships. It is derived from the Quran, the main religious text of Islam, and the teachings of Mohammed, the Muslim prophet.

Many of the bills, including North Carolina’s, would apply only in situations in which invoking foreign law would violate a person’s constitutional rights.

“They exist purely to create a conversation around what sharia is,” said Corey Saylor, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Advocates of the foreign law bans say they safeguard American constitutional liberties, but critics argue they are unnecessary and could complicate international business and contract law.

The bans could also make it difficult to enforce foreign money judgments and matters of family law, like divorce decrees, that are based on a foreign law or religion, said Matthew Duss, a policy analyst at the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

“We’ll have to wait for the test cases to come, but there are a range of issues in which these bans could create real legal uncertainty,” Duss said.

Supporters of the legislation, including Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, say that Islamic law is slipping into U.S. courts.

“It’s an affront to the Constitution of the United States,” he said, “and detrimental to those whose rights are infringed.”

In the U.S., sharia, like other religious law, can enter court through divorce and custody cases or in commercial litigation, mainly when contracts cannot be settled in a religious setting. But the exact frequency of such instances is hard to measure.

A 2011 report by the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C., think tank, cited 50 examples. However, in many of them, constitutional rights trumped foreign or religious laws in judges’ decisions.

One outlier is a 2010 New Jersey case, where a state court found that a man did not intend to rape his wife because he thought his religion allowed him to have sexual intercourse with her at any time. An appeals court eventually overturned that ruling.

The wave of state action began in Oklahoma in 2010, when a voter initiative to prohibit sharia in state courts passed with 70% of the popular vote. In 2012, a federal circuit court struck down the measure.

In its wake, the laws have been retooled to ban all foreign law in state courts to avoid targeting one religion.

But some still say the legislation can harm faith groups. Debra Linick, a director at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said foreign law bans could affect religious arbitration used to handle family and personal disputes.

Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law expert at the University of North Carolina School of Law, said the legislation, particularly North Carolina’s ban, is a solution to a non-existent problem.

“I simply cannot imagine any state court would recognize sharia to defeat a federal constitutional right,” Gerhardt said.

Here are the facts: FAQ for State Legislators On American Laws for American Courts

Taking Action: State Initiatives to Combat Islamism in the U.S.

we the people 2By Christopher Holton and Ryan Mauro:

The failure to recognize, let alone confront, the Islamist ideology on the federal level does not mean that nothing can be done. An increasing number of states are passing or considering legislation designed to take on this task.

Below are five initiatives you can promote in your state:

American Laws for American Courts

In 2011, the Center for Security Policy released a studied titled Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases. The study found 50 appellate court cases in 23 states where Shariah-based legislation from 16 foreign countries contradicted American law.

The primary victims of this “conflict of law” are Muslim-Americans. Areview of 10 cases where Shariah-based law and American law clashed in court found:

“In cases 1-3, the Appellate Courts upheld Shariah law; in cases 4-7, the Trial Courts upheld Shariah, but the Appellate Courts reversed (protecting the litigant’s constitutional rights); in cases 8-10, both Trial and Appellate Courts rejected the attempts to enforce Shariah law.”

The American Public Policy Alliance explains that unclear state law has resulted in “the courts and the litigants hav[ing] repeatedly failed to recognize that comity to a foreign judgment may be at odds with our state and federal constitutional principles…”

American Laws for American Courts is model legislation that prohibits courts from putting foreign law before American law. This has often been described as “Anti-Shariah” legislation, but it doesn’t even mention Shariah or Islam. Its purpose is to protect Americans from being abused by any kind of foreign law.

American Laws for American Courts has been passed in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas and Oklahoma. It was recently passed by the Alabama legislature as a constitutional amendment and will soon be put to a vote by the people. In Missouri, the legislature will meet in September to try to override the Governor’s veto of the bill.

Free Speech Defense Act

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld was sued by a Saudi billionaire named Khalid bin Mahfouz because her book linked him to terrorism-financing. Because 23 copies of the book were bought online in the United Kingdom, Mahfouz was able to exploit the U.K.’s libel laws and sue Ehrenfeld even though she lives in America. Altogether, he targeted 45 publishers and journalists and only she refused to settle.

In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Committee warned that loose libel laws “discourage critical media reporting on matters of serious public interest, adversely affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work, including through the phenomenon known as ‘libel tourism.’”

Federal legislation called the SPEECH Act, also known as “Rachel’s Law,” has been passed but there is a glaring loophole that could result in Americans being denied a trial in U.S. courts.

The Free Speech Defense Act protects the First Amendment rights of Americans from foreign libel tourism. A modified version of this legislation has been passed in South Dakota, New York, California, Illinois, Florida, Utah, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maryland and Oklahoma. It is pending in the South Carolina legislature.

Read more at The Clarion Project

 

“American Laws for American Courts” Public Policy Initiative Advances in State Legislatures as AFLC Leads Citizens Awareness Drive

images (84)AFLC:American

In the past year, over 10,000 American citizens have petitioned elected representatives from their respective state governments to enact the “American Laws for American Courts” (ALAC) legislation, which is designed to prohibit the application of foreign law when it would violate fundamental constitutional rights such as due process and equal protection.  David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), was the principal drafter of the model legislation, which has passed in states such as Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, and Tennessee.

AFLC sponsored a citizens awareness drive to alert Americans about this public policy initiative to protect their rights from constitutionally offensive foreign laws, including – but not limited to – sharia law.  Indeed, extensive research conducted by the Center for Security Policy, a national security thank tank, has found over 50 significant cases from a small sample of published cases indicating that sharia law has permeated state court decisions nationwide.

Yerushalmi commented: “The fact that 10,000 individual Americans responded to our citizens awareness drive demonstrates the growing concern about the imposition of sharia law and its pernicious effect in American courts.  Even more important, it shows that Americans are listening to AFLC’s arguments, which have exposed the fact that numerous judges nationwide have applied sharia over United States law.  People get it: American Laws for American Courts is not a slogan, it is actual legislation available to every state that enacts it, and it will ensure that no state court applies foreign laws or judgments that deprive a party of their constitutional rights.”

In Hosain v. Malik, a classic example of a state court enforcing sharia law, a Maryland appellate court agreed with a lower court’s decision to defer to a Pakistani Sharia Court that granted sole, unrestricted custody of a child to her father even though the mother was not provided due process in the proceedings.  The mother had argued that if she had gone to Pakistan to contest the case, she would have been subject to capital punishment for having a new relationship with a man not sanctioned by sharia.  Nonetheless, the Maryland appellate court ruled that her failure to go to Pakistan and take the risk of execution precluded her from making a public policy argument against the enforcement of sharia law.  In this case, ALAC would have provided the Maryland appellate court the legislative clarity to reverse the lower court’s decision.

In spite of its constitutional defenses, ALAC has faced fierce opposition from Muslim Brotherhood groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which claim that passing ALAC legislation discriminates against Muslims.

Yerushalmi commented: “Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR have joined the ‘blame-America’ Left to challenge these laws, but the fact is ALAC has not been overturned in any of the states that have passed it because it is not just a constitutional law, it is the best way to protect the constitutional liberties of all American citizens.”

Robert Muise, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of AFLC, added: “The American Freedom Law Center commends those loyal and courageous American citizens who have sounded the alarm to their elected officials about the threat posed by sharia and other foreign laws to the American legal system.  And we hope these officials heed their citizens’ concerns by sponsoring this important legislation.”

Bad Moon Rising: The Sharia Law Bans

-1968136017Center For Security Policy:

Against the backdrop of the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a heightened interest in the role of Islam in American society and the subsequent clash of civilizations remains.  Specifically, public concern continues to grow across the country about the use of Sharia Law, or Islamic Law, within American courts.  As a result, well over a dozen state legislatures have introduced or passed legislation that prohibits or limits the use of Sharia Law or foreign law in state courts.  These bills have taken two distinct forms: Sharia-specific and facially-neutral bills.  Regardless of classification, these legislative efforts have triggered a number of constitutional concerns, with critics arguing that the bills violate the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.  Critics argue that the laws have a sectarian purpose and an effect of advancing one religion at the expense of another and thus fail the Supreme Court’s jurisprudential test.  Moreover, these critics argue that the laws burden the practice of religious faith. Indeed, this debate has undeniably opened a Pandora’s Box of constitutional concerns. Meanwhile, the bills’ proponents vigorously reject the accusation that the bills are hostile to Muslims or religious freedoms.  They argue that the bills are designed to proactively safeguard the secular constitutional role of government by prohibiting religious influence, specifically that of Sharia Law.

ACT! Founder Brigitte Gabriel Stands Up To Rep. Ellison / Slams Sharia Law in US

Brigitte Gabriel, Founder of ACT! for America; challenges comments issued by congressman Keith Ellison, who refers to the GOP as the “Party of Hate” based upon the platform’s attitude towards Sharia Law.

American Laws for American Courts in GOP Platform (video)

The Republican National Convention adopted an amendment in the spirit of American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) legislation to their platform

Related articles:

 

Rejection of Truth: The Progressive Interpretation of “Un-Americanism”

David Yerushalmi

AFLC Blog:

AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi is featured in a PBS report entitled “Shariah Controversy,” which highlights “the debate over banning U.S. courts from considering Islamic law in their decision-making.” As you know, Yerushalmi is the principal author of the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation, which was enacted into law by several states and is pending in many others.  This legislation, crafted especially for states, is an effort to insulate state courts from the growing tendency to embrace constitutionally offensive foreign laws, including sharia.

Surprisingly, the PBS report is relatively balanced; but it includes an interesting quip from Rabbi David Saperstein, director and chief legal counsel for the leftwing Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center. Saperstein also delivered an invocation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention shortly before Barack Obama accepted the nomination as the Democrat presidential candidate. In the report, Saperstein claims that the efforts to enact ALAC legislation is “un-American at the deepest and most profound level.”

David Saperstein is very much like the ubiquitous reform rabbi who speaks as though he is giving a sermon and his sermons always sound like a diatribe from a humanist. Words like “un-American”, “deep”, “profound” are sure to be in tow. From an orthodox perspective, one must ask a “reform” Jew, “What about what you claim to be Jewish is in fact Jewish? Where in the world is the source for this nonsense that all peoples and cultures are of equal merit?” All of Judaism is about discerning between the holy and the profane. By reducing everything to the holy one has reduced everything to the profane.

Superficially articulate spokesmen like Saperstein rely upon the inability or unwillingness of most of their fellow travelers to think past three levels of argument. This allows the following syllogism:

  1. Only science, as in mathematical physics, provides Man with certain knowledge.
  2. No man/woman can know any absolute truth other than the certainty of science.
  3. All moral, political, and philosophical judgments (i.e., Reason, ethics, morality) are outside of mathematical physics; therefore, they are absolutely unknowable. They are mere beliefs; fully exchangeable opinion. No basis to distinguish a Judeo-Christian moral truth or political order from any other.

As Loewenberg has pointed out, based in part on the works of Klein, Voegelin, and Strauss, this is the destruction of Western thought or what has been understood as the natural tension between Reason (Athens) and Revelation (Jerusalem) in Western Philosophy.

Once you’ve arrived here, there are only two bases for political order. We have come to this understanding — the Founders did — from Hobbes and Locke. If all but science (not science as in theory but as in mathesis universalis) is but meaningless and fully interchangeable opinion (A=B, B=C, … X=X1, therefore on any given day, A=X1), a political society seeking to choose the right political order may be “required” to agree that A=T or tyranny in its active phase. That is, if there is no basis for truth, and there is only personal “taste” or unprovable opinion, the way for society to agree on order is by one opinion being enforced through power.

The other approach to political order is through “procedure” or “process”. This has been AFLC Advisory Board Member and bestselling author Andrew C. McCarthy’s contribution to the contemporary discussion. Because there can be no truth, there can only be valid elections or “due process”. Thus, a “fair” election is one where you vote and merely count the votes accurately. The result on that day at that place becomes the truth for that time and that place. But, that truth is entirely relative and temporal and there is no basis to invest it with any lasting constitutional claim of truth.

Thus, the living constitution of the progressives, the Progressive Truth of Time-History-Progress itself, this then is the only transcendence available to man. If that rings of Hegel, there is a reason for that.

It follows, then, that there can be no moral truth or superiority to a Judeo-Christian value of the individual over the collective because there can be no truth other than progress. This “progress” is what “Rabbi” Saperstein means when he refers to what is “American” at the “most profound level”. For the Progressive, ”profundity”  is the deep truth that there is no truth.

Now, we see the perfect storm — or opportunity — for the Left to join the sharia faithful in their destruction of the Judeo-Christian West. For the Progressive, the hatred of a Judeo-Christian moral or political truth is of necessity the last barrier to the syllogism noted above.  For  the Sharia-Muslim faithful, Judaism simply and Christianity in political society operate to literally deny the truth of the Koran and the “Law”.  As long as the value and the integrity of the individual reigns supreme over the collectiveUmma, the Ulema will not be able to argue that A=T, as in the tyranny of sharia.

It is this anti-philosophic “goal” of the destruction of Western philosophy which so neatly allies Progressives and the Sharia Faithful.  Their allied raison d’etre is the destruction of Western political order based upon the Judeo-Christian tension between Reason and Revelation, where both give way but neither concedes nor demands a totalitarian dominance in matters political.  And, at the core of this tension and recognition (i.e., “tolerance” proper) between Reason and Revelation is the respect we accord the individual over the collective.

Related article:

CAIR Targets AFLC Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi in Ramadan Fundraising Pitch (AFLC Blog)