Alabama Foreign Laws in Court Amendment, SB4 (2014)
|Alabama American and Alabama Laws for Alabama Courts Amendment|
|Referred by:||Alabama State Legislature|
|Topic:||Federal constitutional issues|
|Status:||On the ballot|
Text of measure
The language will appear on the ballot as:
|“||"Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to prohibit the State of Alabama from giving full faith and credit to public acts, records, or judicial proceedings of another state that violate the public policy of the State of Alabama and to prohibit the application of foreign law in violation of rights guaranteed natural citizens by the United States and Alabama Constitutions, and the statutes, laws, and public policy thereof, but without application to business entities.
"Proposed by Act ________."
"Yes ( ) No ( )." 
If approved, SB 4 would add an amendment to the Alabama Constitution with nine sections.
During the 2011 state legislative session, Sen. Gerald Allen proposed the Alabama "Sharia Law Amendment", which did not make the November 2012 ballot. This measure sought to prohibit state courts from implementing Islamic Sharia law when making judicial decisions. In the current SB 4, Sen. Allen does not use any language that specifically refers to Sharia law.
OK 2010 measure
Oklahoma became the first state to attempt to keep international or other non-state or federal laws in court decisions in 2010 with State Question 755. On January 10, 2012, the 10th Circuit Court Of Appeals struck down the measure, stating that the proposal violated the United States Constitution. Despite being approved by the voters, an injunction on the measure plus the final overturn prevented the law from taking effect.
- Rev. Richard L. Killmer
In a guest column on AL.com, Rev. Richard L. Killmer alleged that the intent of this amendment is the same as the one Sen. Allen proposed in 2011, which was to ban Sharia Law. However, Rev. Killmer argues that such a law is unnecessary due to the fact that the, "U.S. Constitution already states that U.S. law takes precedence over any foreign law, including the unspoken target of this amendment, Shariah or Islamic law." He further alleged that SB 4 is simply looking for way to discriminate against Muslims. He stated,
|“||So why is this happening? Some people have decided to harass Muslims and are finding ways to discriminate against them. Unless the American public, including the people of Alabama, takes a stand, the injustices of yesterday will unfold again before our eyes. [...] The sovereignty of the U.S. judicial system will not be undermined by imaginary support for Shariah law, but there is a risk that it will be undermined by legislation that discriminates.||”|
—Rev. Richard L. Killmer, 
Path to the ballot
|Foreign Laws in Court|
|Education Expenditure Increases|
|Franklin Co. Public Utilities|
|Endorsements • Full text|
- See also: Amending the Alabama Constitution
According to Article 18 of the Alabama Constitution, both houses of the Alabama State Legislature were required to pass the bill by a three-fifths or 60 percent vote, in order to send it to the statewide election ballot. If the amendment is approved by a simple majority of the electorate, it will become part of the constitution.
SB 4 was read for the first time in the Senate and referred to the Judiciary Committee on February 5, 2013. On March 20, 2013, the measure passed the Senate by a vote of 22 to 6. The House approved the amendment two months later on May 20, 2013, by a vote of 75 to 6. The House heard no arguments on the measure prior to its passage.
March 20, 2013 Senate vote
|Alabama SB 4 Senate vote|
May 20, 2013 House vote
|Alabama SB 4 House vote|
- Alabama 2014 ballot measures
- 2014 ballot measures
- List of Alabama ballot measures
- Alabama Legislature
- APR.org, "Ballot Question Could Add Foreign Law Protections," May 21, 2013
- Freedom Legislation Forum, "Ballot Measure: Alabama to ban use of foreign law in state courts," May 23, 2013
- OpenStates.org, "SB 4: Alabama Senate Bill - Foreign law, application in violation of rights guaranteed United States and Alabama citizens, prohibited, exceptions, American and Alabama Laws for Alabama Courts Amendment, const. amend.," accessed May 27, 2013
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Think Progress, "BREAKING: 10th Circuit Court Of Appeals Declares Oklahoma’s Sharia Ban Unconstitutional," January 10, 2012
- HSLDA, "Senate Bill 4: Prohibits the Application of Foreign Law in Violation of Citizens' Constitutional Rights," accessed July 11, 2014
- AL.com, "Proposed amendment banning "foreign law" is really an effort to harass Muslims (Guest column)," June 17, 2013
- Open States, "Alabama 2013 Regular Session SB4," accessed July 11, 2014
- Associated Press, "Ballot Question Could Add Foreign Law Protections," May 21, 2013
State of Alabama
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