June 19, 2012

IT'S A MATTER OF HATE, NOT OF LAW:

Fears of 'Creeping Sharia' : This chimerical battle in the culture war poses real dangers. (Matthew Schmitz, 6/18/12, National Review)

Sharia, of course, does not grant all the rights that the U.S. Constitution does; neither does Christian canon law or Jewish Halakhic law (or English or French law, for that matter). But why should this fact prevent a court from honoring a contract made under the provisions of one of these "foreign" legal systems if the contract does not itself violate any U.S. or state regulations, laws, or constitutional provisions? Under one reading of the Kansas law, a contract that makes reference to canon law or sharia -- but is otherwise perfectly legal -- would be thrown out, while an identical one that makes no such reference would be upheld. The other possible reading of the law is that it only bars rulings based on foreign legal systems when the rulings themselves would violate constitutional rights. But in that case, as Professor Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia Law School has argued, the law is meaningless, for courts will not tolerate or enforce violations of constitutional rights in any case. 

The assumption undergirding the Kansas law, and similar laws enacted or being considered in other states, is that America faces a serious threat from "creeping sharia." While some Western countries do face real difficulties from large, radicalized Muslim populations, evidence for the Islamization of America is terribly thin. Sharia, moreover, is not one rigid legal system but rather an immensely varied set of legal, cultural, and ethical understandings. It varies between countries and regions, encompassing social custom and dietary habits as well as what Westerners consider matters of law.

Posted by at June 19, 2012 5:05 AM
  

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