Voters to decide Sharia law's place in Oklahoma courts
If passed, State Question 755, or the Oklahoma International Law Amendment, would amend Section 1, Article 7 of the State Constitution, requiring Oklahoma courts to rely on federal or state laws when deciding cases and forbidding them from looking at international law or Sharia law.
Sharia law is Islamic law, and is based on two principal sources: the Quran and the teachings of Muhammad. International Law, also known as the Law of Nations, deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It includes international agreements and treaties as well as the relationships of the individuals involved.
Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, and Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, co-authored the measure and commented on SQ 755.
The League of Women Voter’s hosted a Town Hall meeting Oct. 14 in Norman to discuss SQ 755 and the rest of the upcoming state questions.
At the meeting, OU law professor Rick Tepker, retired OU political science professor David Morgan and Rick Farmer, director of the committee staff of the House of Representatives, composed a three-person panel that answered questions from the public concerning the different state measures. When asked about SQ 755, Tepker said he thinks it is a frivolous measure that will disrupt Oklahoma commercial contracts in a global economy.
“Oklahoma is getting an increasing amount of business overseas, and if this measure passes, it may make foreign business partners tentative to sign contracts with us,” Tepker said. “It’s an unpredictable, unforeseen effect, and I don’t think Mr. Duncan and the other legislative sponsors even considered that, because they were trying to get something else out of it.”
Tepker said if international law, as a category, is thrown out, than the disruption of commercial expectations may be too difficult for people to negotiate around and continue to have good business.
“As the old conservative adage goes, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ Well, that needs to be applied with SQ 755,” Tepker said.