H/T to Dorrie
Disinformation on Florida's ALAC Bill from Salon.com's Jillian Rayfield
American Laws for American Courts legislation is progressing through the Florida legislature.
the House of Representatives, Rep. Larry Metz's HB351 has already
passed through the House Civil Justice Subcommittee and the House
Judiciary Committee and is set for a floor vote soon.
In the Senate, Senator Alan Hays' SB58 has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Jillian Rayfield over at Salon.com has chosen to cover this story by getting it wrong:
First, the headline of her article is inaccurate: "Florida advances Sharia ban"http://www.salon.com/2013/03/08/florida_advances_sharia_ban/
Ms. Rayfield, American Laws for American Courts does not "ban" Sharia.
Evidently, she did not bother to actually READ the legislation. There is
no mention of Sharia anywhere in the bill. Nor would it ban Sharia.
That is a myth. American Laws for American Courts is designed to protect
individual, fundamental constitutional rights. In as much as Sharia is
compatible with individual fundamental constitutional rights, there is
no conflict. If Sharia is not compatible with individual fundamental
constitutional rights, then conflicts could indeed arise, because in
America we must abide by the US constitution.
comes the sub-headline (note we haven't even gotten to her actual
article and it is already littered with flaws!): "The state Senate
Judiciary Committee passed a bill to ban "foreign law"
again, not so. SB58 is NOT a ban on foreign law. Had Ms. Rayfield
actually READ the bill she would have known that. American Laws for
American Courts is not a blanket ban on foreign law. That is another
myth spread by people who don't appreciate our constitutional rights.
What American Laws for American Courts does is prevent a court in the
state from applying a foreign law or foreign legal doctrine if the
application of that foreign law or foreign legal doctrine would result
in the violation of any of the parties' fundamental constitutional
rights. The operative language:
court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or
decision violates the public policy of this state and is void and
unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative
agency bases its ruling or decision in the matter at issue in whole or
in part on any foreign law, legal code, or system that does not grant
the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental
liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution
or the United States Constitution.
Rayfield repeats her mistake in the first paragraph of the article when
she writes that the bill "prevents courts from considering 'foreign
law' when handing down legal decisions."
of that language appears anywhere in the bill. The words "consider" or
"considering" do not appear in the bill language. Nor do the words
"prevent" or "prevents."
Rayfield provides an assist to the Miami Herald's own disinformation
campaign when she quotes them. The Herald claims that SB58 would "ban
courts or other legal authorities from using religious or foreign
The equally moronic reporter who penned that homily was Rochelle Koff. Wrong, Ms. Koff. READ THE BILL.
is NO mention anywhere in the bill of religious law. In fact, the only
mention of religion at all in the bill is to ensure that it cannot be
used to violate the 1st amendment sanctity of religion. Again, American
Laws for American Courts does NOT ban any foreign law. It does NOT ban
any religious law. What it does is protect the fundamental
constitutional rights of Floridians, something that Jillian Rayfield and
Rochelle Koff evidently have a problem with. We find that particularly
curious, since one of those fundamental constitutional rights is
contained in the 1st amendment of the US constitution, including freedom
of the press.
Rayfield goes on to say that "bills like this have popped up in state
legislatures across the country..." Actually, Ms. Rayfield, American
Laws for American Courts hasn't just "popped up," it has passed into law
in 4 states since 2010 with overwhelmingly bipartisan votes in each
Ms. Rayfield claims that back in 2011 neither Rep. Metz nor Senator
Hays could name an instance in which a state court had used
"international" or "Islamic law" to make a decision. (First a point of
clarification: "international law" and "foreign law" are two very
different things. ALAC has nothing to do with international law at all.
Evidently, Ms. Rayfield does not know what international law is.)
won't be so presumptuous as to speak on behalf of Messrs. Metz or Hays,
but we certainly can speak to the issue of whether Islamic law had been
used in a state court to make a decision. The Center for Security
Policy has produced an invaluable report on the subject, entitled
Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate
Court Cases. The report evaluates 50 Appellate Court cases from 23
states that involve conflicts between Shariah (Islamic law) and American
cases are the stories of Muslim American families, mostly Muslim women
and children, who were asking American courts to preserve their rights
to equal protection and due process. These families came to America for
freedom from the discriminatory and cruel laws of Shariah. When our
courts then apply Shariah law in the lives of these families, and deny
them equal protection, they are betraying the principles on which
America was founded.
study's findings suggest that Shariah law has entered into state court
decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy.
The American Public Policy Alliance has provided links to the 10 most
instructive examples: http://publicpolicyalliance.org/faq/ten-american-families-and-shariah-law/
Ms. Rayfield couldn't be bothered to read a 5-page double-spaced piece
of legislation, it hardly comes as surprising that she failed to
research the issue of Shariah arising in US courts.
Significantly, of the 50 sample cases analyzed by the Center for Security Policy, four were in fact from the state of Florida: http://shariahinamericancourts.com/?cat=53
leaders in the US often declare that Shariah is compatible with the
constitution. Again, in as much as Shariah is compatible with
fundamental constitutional rights, there is no conflict. But if those
Islamist leaders are being dishonest, and Shariah does violate
fundamental constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of
the press, due process and equal protection, then conflicts could