Federal 10th Circuit upholds lower court Sharia ruling

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The Judicial Update

January 11, 2012

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit: Yesterday, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals released an anticipated ruling. The decision by the panel of Judges Terrence O'Brien, Scott Matheson and Monroe McKay, upheld a previous ruling by Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, out of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, that said Oklahoma's "Sharia Law" ballot measure was unconstitutional. Supported by 70 percent of the state's population in 2010, the amendment prohibited courts in the state from considering international or Sharia law in deciding cases.[1]

The Tenth Circuit Court disagreed with the supporters of the amendment, who insisted that the measure was intended to disallow courts from considering any religious law in their proceedings. As a response, the opinion states, "That argument conflicts with the amendment's plain language, which mentions sharia law in two places."[2]

Because the amendment was thought to discriminate against a specific religion, in this case, Islam, strict scrutiny was applied to judging its contents. Courts often utilize a higher level of scrutiny when it is concerned a minority is being unfairly treated.[1]

Since the amendment has been ruled upon by a federal district court and appeals court, the only course of action left for supporters is the Supreme Court of the United States.