ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A heated debate preceded a vote yesterday by the Missouri House in favor of a bill that would ban Sharia law in the state.
The bill – H.B. 708 – would limit the use of foreign law in Missouri courts.
“Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision of this state shall be void and unenforceable if such court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, 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 constitutions of this state and the United States,” the bill reads. H.B. 708 can be read in its entirety here.
H.B. 708’s sponsor, Eastern Missouri Republican Paul Curtman, said the bill is necessary to guarantee the constitutional rights of Missourians. But others, including St. Louis Democratic representative Jamilah Nasheed, call the bill a facetious and hollow waste of time and money.
“This bill will go to court and you are wasting your ink on this paper. Because this will not be upheld in court,” Nasheed said Tuesday. “You’re wasting your time gentleman. You’re wasting your time in this body.”
Nasheed called on Curtman to provide a list of cases in which international law had been used in American courts but Curtman was unable to provide an example of such a case.
St. Louis County Democrat Susan Carlson also cited the rights of Missourians, saying the bill would interfere with companies engaged in business overseas and their right to enter into contracts as they see fit.
“It’s going to make our companies spend more money and more time and not get the results that they bargained for,” Carlson said.
Opponents of the controversial bill cite Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. Its second paragraph reads as follows: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
The bill’s passage comes less than a week after more than 100 people flocked to the Missouri Capitol for a “Muslim Day” rally in an attempt to display the patriotic side of the state’s Muslim population. Participants recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag, clapped for the U.S. Constitution and responded “yes” in unison when event leaders asked if they love other Americans.
As previously reported by KMOX, Missouri is one of at least 13 states where anti-Sharia legislation is under consideration or has already been made law. But Jim Hacking with the St. Louis office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) doesn’t see the need.
“The first amendment would already prohibit any use of Sharia law or imposition of Sharia law on any citizen of the United States and Missouri,” Hacking said last week.
Paranoia over the use of Sharia law in U.S. courts was heightened last month when a Florida judge ruled that a dispute between Muslim parties could proceed under the ecclesiastical law.
The bill will face a final vote in the Missouri House before moving on to the Senate.
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