A federal judge Thursday ruled unconstitutional a 2010 Oklahoma constitutional amendment barring the state’s courts from considering or using Shariah law.
U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange found the law in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause, issuing a “permanent injunction prohibiting the certification of the results of the state question that put the Shariah law ban into the state constitution,” according to the Tulsa World.
“While the public has an interest in the will of the voters being carried out, the Court finds that the public has a more profound and long-term interest in upholding an individual’s constitutional rights,” the judge wrote in her opinion.
Two days after 70 percent of Oklahoma voters approved the so-called “Save Our State” amendment, Muneer Awad, a Muslim American and then-director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, filed a lawsuit seeking to block it.
Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order on Nov. 8, 2010, followed by a preliminary injunction later that month, finding that “the balance of harms weighed strongly in favor of Awad, that the alleged violation of Awad’s First Amendment rights constituted irreparable injury and that the public interest demanded protection of these rights.”
Adam Soltani, the current executive director of CAIR’s Oklahoma chapter and a fellow plaintiff in the lawsuit, issued a statement to the Tulsa World following Thursday night’s ruling.
“As Oklahomans, we are incredibly thrilled at the decision and applaud the judicial system for upholding our constitutional rights. This is a victory not only for Oklahoma Muslims, but for all Oklahomans and all Americans,” Soltani said in the statement.
In spite of the legal wrangling, Gov. Mary Fallin signed new legislation in April to stop the use of foreign laws that violate the Oklahoma Constitution or the U.S. Constitution. House Bill 1060, which passed by wide margins in the Oklahoma House and Senate, takes effect Nov. 1, according to local radio station KRMG.