Appeals Court Holds Oklahoma’s Shari’ah Ban Unconstitutional

The 10th Circuit has upheld a lower court ruling that Oklahoma’s effort to ban shari’ah law is unconstitutional.

Via the ACLU, which along with the Council on American Islamic Relations, brought the challenge:

The court concluded that by singling out Islam for unfavorable treatment in state courts, the law likely violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The court rejected the state’s argument that the constitutional amendment was necessary to protect against improper application of Sharia law, explaining: 

“Appellants do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve. Indeed, they admitted . . . that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.” 

Despite the court’s level-headed ruling — that this ban was an unconstitutional solution to a non-existent problem — this will in short order become a campaign trail issue for Republicans. It combines their irrational fear of Islam and fevered denunciations of “activist judges” into one digestible soundbite about the impending fall of America to its imagined enemies.

Newt Gingrich wants a national shari’ah law ban:

And echoing Frank GaffneyRick Santorum, who imagines he’s fighting a battle to save “Christendom,” says shari’ah is “incompatible with the Constitution:”

For more on how these efforts to ban shari’ah law came to pass, see our coverage here. For an analysis of why Oklahoma’s effort to ban shari’ah was a fool’s errand in any case, see Haroon Moghul’s piece from election night 2010, when the ballot measure passed by popular vote. 

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