AND THEN THERE WERE 13…. When Oklahomans passed a foolish ballot measure barring judges from considering Islamic or international law in state courts, there was a temptation to laugh at the silliness. After all, if we already have a First Amendment, and no courts are considering “sharia” in their rulings, why bother?
Unfortunately, far-right state lawmakers don’t quite see it that way, and are taking up Oklahoma-like measures elsewhere.
The ‘American Laws for Georgia Courts Act’ was recently introduced in both chambers of Georgia’s General Assembly. The bill would amend Georgia law so that “no court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other tribunal shall enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.”
While Georgia’s bill is aimed at banning Sharia, it doesn’t explicitly mention it — a strategy employed in similar bills introduced other states.
State Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta), who is vice chairman of the Georgia House Judiciary Committee, introduced the bill in the state House, and told the Fulton County Daily Report the bill would ban Sharia, while admitting that he does not know of any cases in Georgia where Islamic law has been an issue.
“We’re seeing more of a feeling that Sharia law should be applied in domestic cases,” Jacobs said.
Keep in mind, the number of court rulings in Georgia in which sharia law was applied or even considered is zero. Proponents of this nonsense know that, but they have “a feeling” that trouble is around the corner.
The last time we talked about this, I heard from reader C.J., reminding me that Texas has also joined the crusade, and conservatives want Texas voters to consider an anti-sharia ballot measure in November.
As it turns out, the stupidity is spreading like a cancer. Zaid Jilani reports this week that “at least 13 states across the country have introduced or passed similar bills designed to protect us from the non-existent threat of Sharia law being imposed on the United States.”
All of this effort is going into addressing a problem that exists only in right-wing imaginations. It’s a reminder of why our discourse seems so stunted — we can’t have meaningful debates over real challenges, because hysterical conservatives are busy chasing ghosts.