CAIR's sharia lawsuit and Miles-LaGrange's injunction

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Federal Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, a Clinton appointee to the Western District of Oklahoma and former Democrat legislator from Oklahoma City, blocked the Oklahoma State Election Board from certifying the landslide passage of SQ 755. SQ 755 forbids Oklahoma courts from looking to "the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law." The injunction is in response to a lawsuit filed by Muneer Awad, the state director of CAIR. (Awad doesn't show up as a registered voter in Oklahoma as recently as August of this year.)

Miles-LaGrange's decision makes no sense. Even if there were a constitutional issue with the new amendment, the proper remedy is to enjoin the law's enforcement. Halting certification of the vote would make sense only if there were alleged constitutional violations in the voting process.

Commentary elsewhere:

Gabriel Malor, at Ace of Spades HQ. Malor, an attorney who is originally from Oklahoma, points out that the amendment plainly does not say what the CAIR complaint

Jeff Goldstein writes:

Here's what this ruling means: the people are allowed to play at republican democracy, with their quaint little ballot initiatives. But in the end, we have philosopher kings -- in the person of unelected judges -- who will do the real deciding for us....

Whether you like the law or not; or whether you believe it necessary or not; whether you believe it passes the Lemon test or not; what is at stake here is the court's ability to tell you directly that what you've said and meant is not what you've said and meant -- and that what you've voted to establish into law is potentially unconstitutional on the basis that others who know what you meant can make the text show that it means something other than you designed it to mean.

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2 Comments

XonOFF said:

I thought it odd, too, that the Judge decided to stop certification of the election results. Hardly seemed appropriate methodology for the circumstances.

There's no grounds for that. If someone wants to raise a Constitutional issue, it would be post-facto. So, it has to become law first, before a complaint could be lodged at all.

mark said:

That one had me scratching my head also, Michael. And none of the other attorneys with whom I've discussed it have a good explanation either. The amateurish effort that was SQ 755 deserves to die in the courts, but it does seem that Miles-LaGrange jumped the gun.

As you know I agree that foreign, cultural and religious law should not be used by Oklahoma courts as rules of decision. But the consummately poor drafting of the SQ 755 Amendment rendered it vulnerable to CAIR's constitutional challenge, threatened important tenets of judicial analysis, and rattled Oklahoma's business community dependent on foreign economic relationships.

For the record, here's a re-write that I believe would solve all of the problems:

"Except as dictated by the internal conflict of law principles of Oklahoma law, no court of the State of Oklahoma shall utilize as a rule of decision any legal precept of a nation other than the United States of America, or the cultural, religious, or other law of any sectarian group."

But then again it lacks the red-meat . . . "Sharia".

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 11, 2010 1:29 AM.

Fallin picks Coffee, Nichols to head transition team; Dank issues warning was the previous entry in this blog.

Maps of the 2010 Oklahoma election is the next entry in this blog.

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