As President Obama continues to resettle Muslims in American cities, the state of Idaho is pushing a bill that would prohibit Sharia law (or any other foreign statutes) from influencing the state’s courts. I don’t blame them for worrying. Just last week, Secretary of State John Kerry termed the Islamic State’s actions against Christians “genocide.” Sharia law is the legal framework ISIS chooses to follow.
Idaho lawmakers are considering the bill despite criticism in 2015 when they refused an international treaty that would have made it easier for single moms and dads to collect child support. The measure was meant to align Idaho’s laws on child support with those outlined in federal statutes, but Republicans were suspicious about potential Sharia influences in future child support cases.
Under mounting pressure, Idaho lawmakers decided to reverse the decision with a special session that ended up costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Idaho isn’t the only state worried about the spread of Sharia law in the US. This worry manifests as proposals to limit the use of foreign laws in state courts. So far, ten states have passed bills similar to the proposal Idaho is working on now.
Opponents claim these measures are no more than anti-Islamic fear mongering and argue that strict interpretations of Sharia law have never trumped federal or state laws in the US. Supporters claim these proposals are a way to protect states’ rights as the world becomes more globalized.
Idaho’s House State Affairs Committee send the document to the floor Thursday or restructuring after both parties voiced concerns about how the bill would affect international contracts. While Sharia law is not specifically mentioned in the proposal, it was the center of the testimony and discussion.
According to Committee Chairman Thomas Loertscher (R-Iona), the committee’s decision to amend the proposal was not influenced by last year’s criticisms. “I don’t think that was a big deal,” he said. “I think it was a series of things in the bill that gave everybody pause.”
“I like the general direction of where this is headed – that we are going to tell our judges and our courts that you are going to use American laws and Idaho laws when you are making your rulings and interpretations,” says Brent Crane (R-Nampa).
“Invoking foreign law and foreign legal doctrines…is a means of imposing an agenda on the American people, while circumventing the US and state constitutions,” explains the bill’s sponsor, Eric Redman (R-Athol). He maintains that Sharia law is spreading throughout court cases in both the US and Europe.