Right now, most people in Louisiana and Alabama are focused on the college football game this weekend between their respective states’ flagship universities.
But the two states actually have something in common much more important than football.
On Tuesday, the people of Alabama took action at the voting polls to join the people of Louisiana in passing something called American Laws for American Courts.
The legislation passed overwhelmingly through the Louisiana legislature and was signed into law by Governor Jindal back in 2010. On Tuesday of this week, the people of Alabama took the extraordinary step of making American Laws for American Courts part of their state’s constitution.
The purpose of American Laws for American Courts is to protect individual fundamental constitutional rights from foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines by prohibiting state courts from applying those foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines when that application would result in the violation of someone’s fundamental constitutional rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, due process, equal protection and the right to keep and bear arms.
Despite ignorant press reports to the contrary, American Laws for American Courts does not constitute a blanket “ban” on foreign law.
American Laws for American Courts has been labeled as “anti-shariah” legislation, however the model law makes no explicit mention of Shariah, and it is in fact facially neutral. Perhaps the reason that it has been associated with Shariah is because Shariah is one form of foreign law that has arisen frequently in US courts and it is also a foreign legal doctrine that often runs counter to our fundamental constitutional rights.
In addition to Alabama and Louisiana, American Laws for American Courts has passed into law in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arizona and North Carolina. Similar legislation has also passed into law in Washington, South Dakota and Florida.