House approves new ban on use of foreign law in state courts
Legislation banning the use of foreign law in Oklahoma courts passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives with bipartisan support last Friday.
House Bill 1552, by state Rep. Sally Kern, declares that any court action will be “void and unenforceable” if the court ruling is based “on any law, rule, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions.”
“This bill does not ban the use of foreign law or international law,” said Kern, an Oklahoma City Republican. “It only prevents foreign law or international law from being used in a court case if, in that case, the rights and freedoms of a citizen as provided in the U.S. Constitution and the Oklahoma Constitution will be violated. It is just a common-sense protection against judicial activism that would undermine our rights.”
State Question 755
, which prohibited the use of foreign law and expressly prohibited reliance on Sharia law in Oklahoma courts, passed with 70 percent of the vote last November. However, its implementation has been blocked due to a lawsuit.
To address one of the issues raised since passage of State Question 755, H.B. 1552 declares, “The Legislature fully recognizes the right to contract freely under the laws of this state, and also recognizes that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed pursuant to the state’s interest to protect and promote rights and privileges granted under the United States or Oklahoma Constitution.”
In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Kern said, “This legislation reinforces and puts in statute the intent of S.Q. 755 and will prevent the documented creep of foreign and offensive laws being recognized by state and federal courts. Basically, this will require that American courts rely on American law.”
H.B. 1552 passed the Oklahoma House 76-3, and moved to the state Senate for consideration.