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The Judicial Branch is awesome…

11:30 AM EST on November 30, 2010

I'll admit it.

On November 2, while I stood in the ballot box, I nearly "“ and I stress "nearly" "“ cast a "Yes" vote for State Question 755, the controversial law that forbids state courts from considering or using international law or Sharia law.

I nearly voted "Yes," because well, it kind of made sense.  If you really think about it, our state courts should probably not consider international law and Sharia law when they make decisions.  Granted, they should also not consider biblical law, Canadian law, Boy Scout Mottos, or the unwritten rules of baseball when deciding court cases, but we don't need a constitutioanl ammendment to know that. 

But...before I filled in the "Yes" arrow, I stopped.  For some reason, the State Question just didn't seem right. It seemed fishy.  So I changed my mind at the last second and voted "No."  

I think that was a good decision.  I think that because after I've had more time to think about it, State Question 755 was nothing more than a symbolic attempt by right wing religious whackos to legislate that their religion is better than others.  It's just a veiled attempt to tell to those who follow different religions that they are not welcomed Oklahoma.

Not surprisingly, I was on the wrong side.   State Question 755 passed easily with 70% of the vote.  Also not surprisingly, the judicial branch was on my side.


An Oklahoma City federal judge Monday ruled against a voter-approved restriction on Islamic law.

In a 15-page order, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange continued to keep the restriction out of the Oklahoma Constitution. Her ruling was a victory for an Oklahoma City Muslim leader who had complained his constitutional religious rights were in jeopardy....

In Monday's order, the judge wrote that Awad "has made a strong showing that State Question 755's amendment's primary effect inhibits religion and that the amendment fosters an excessive government entanglement with religion."

The judge rejected the state's argument that the amendment is a broad ban on state courts applying the law of other nations and cultures regardless of what faith they may be based on.

She wrote, "The actual language of the amendment reasonably "¦ may be viewed as specifically singling out Sharia law, conveying a message of disapproval of plaintiff's faith."

The judge wrote: "This order addresses issues that go to the very foundation of our country, our (U.S.) Constitution, and particularly, the Bill of Rights. Throughout the course of our country's history, the will of the 'majority' has on occasion conflicted with the constitutional rights of individuals, an occurrence which our founders foresaw and provided for through the Bill of Rights."

Quoting from a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court decision, she wrote, "One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."

The judge said any harm to the state in delaying certification of the results is minimized because the amendment "was to be a preventative measure and the concern that it seeks to address has yet to occur."

I find myself writing this way too often, but "Thank You" judicial branch.  And while I'm at it, "Thank You" checks and balances. 

Thank you so very much for making Oklahoma a tolerable state for the regular people like me who aren't scared of those who are different. 

Thank you for standing up for those people like me who don't care if someone else is black, white, legal, illegal, gay, Muslim, Jewish, Christian or Porn Star.   Although I am finding that many conservative white Christians over the age of 50 are rather annoying.  And I do think porn stars are cool, especially the ones from Oklahoma.

And most importantly, thank you for protecting the liberties of all those people who are different and in the minority, and letting them live free and happy lives (for the most part).

Thanks a bunch!

p.s.- This is just a temporary injunction, so I guess there is still a chance it could be appealed and then repealed.  But I doubt it.  I read all of Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange order, and it made a lot of sense.  I imagine most "liberal activist judges" would feel the same way, so score one for the good guys.

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