It isn’t often that I get to brag on my home state. I view our lawmakers as followers of national whim as opposed to standing on the principles of the typical Kansan. But, this weekend, they bucked that trend and the Kansas senate passed a bill banning foreign law from being used in state courts. It had already passed the House. Governor Brownback is expected to sign it into law.
Although the law doesn’t specify Islamic moral code or Sharia law it is seen as the purpose of the bill. Many people have already condemned the bill as unnecessary, insinuating that this wouldn’t be a problem in the U.S. But, upon inspection, we see where there have been at least 50 cases in the U.S. where Sharia law has been applied, in part, in deciding the cases. Other’s have seen this as socially intolerant and Islamaphobic. It isn’t. This is the people of a state affirming their values and not wishing our legal process become corrupted by outside foreign influences.
A constitutional test of this law will be quite a study. Some judicial decisions in the past used old British common law as part of the ruling.
The reactions of various commenters in various places such as the Huffington Post is an interesting study. While some view Kansas’ law as intolerant, the application of Sharia law (in its various forms) should be seen as much more intolerant in many cases, such as child custody.
My thoughts are this. In the U.S. judicial law is derived from constitutional and legislative law. That is to say, our laws are codified. And, they are codified through a democratic and representative process. And application of any foreign law must be either voted on by the various legislatures or amended to the U.S. Constitution. The application of old common law principles would not be nullified as Sharia law is not be common among the people of the U.S.