Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oops! Did Oklahoma Voters Accidently Outlaw the Ten Commandments?

Remember State Question 544, the one that passed by 70 percent and bans Sharia law as well as the use of other foreign laws in Oklahoma courts? 

The zealots in the state legislature who pushed this measure (such as Rex Duncan, Republican of Sand Springs) may have inadvertently outlawed the Ten Commandants. 

Really. As it happens, the Ten Commandants are, well, foreign. Uh-oh.

CNN asked someone who might know:
Rick Tepker, the first member of the University of Oklahoma School of Law faculty to try a case before the U.S. Supreme Court…called the passage of the measure “a mess” with implications unknown until a case that challenges it arises.
“Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don’t cry,” he said. “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.”
Come to think of it, the historical foundation for American law is English common law, which is (of course) foreign.

In short, Prof. Tepker may be right—this is a mess. The full story is here.


TedTheCat said...

Lots of questions are raised by this poorly drafted xenophobic law, assuming that it is not struck down as unconstitutional:

Are "Christian mediation" clauses in employment contracts now invalid?

Are all mediation and arbitration clauses in contracts now invalid?

Are "choice of law" clauses in international business agreements now invalid, and if so, what economic impact would that have?

Tulsan said...

Just another dumba$$ bill designed to get out the right-wing vote.

Stephen Colbert:

"[In] Oklahoma, voters overwhelmingly approved state question 755 [to ban Islamic Sharia law], one of the most important initiatives in their state's history. This is great news. Just because something doesn’t exist doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ban it. That's why I have long fought for ballot measures to ban cat pilots, baby curling, and man-futon marriage."