Why American Laws for American Courts?

Some 235 years ago, America’s forefathers gathered in Philadelphia to debate and write a unique document. That single-page document announced the formation of a new country—one that would no longer find itself in the clutches of a foreign power. That document was the Declaration of Independence. Eleven years later, many of those same men gathered again to lay the foundation for how the United States of America was to be governed: The US Constitution, a form of government like no other by the people, of the people and for the people.

For more than two centuries, hundreds of thousands of courageous men and women have given their lives to protect America’s sovereignty and freedom.

American constitutional rights must be preserved in order to preserve unique American values of liberty and freedom. State legislatures have a vital role to play in preserving those constitutional rights and American values of liberty and freedom.

America has unique values of liberty which do not exist in foreign legal systems, particularly Shariah Law. Included among, but not limited to, those values and rights are:

  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Due Process
  • Right to Privacy
  • Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Civil and Criminal Law Serve as the Bedrock for American Values: We are a nation of laws.

Unfortunately, increasingly, foreign laws and legal doctrines, including Shariah law principles, are finding their way into US court cases.

Reviews of state laws provide extensive evidence that foreign laws and legal doctrines are introduced into US state court cases, including, notably, Islamic law known as Shariah, which is used in family courts and other courts in dozens of foreign Muslim-majority nations.

These foreign laws, frequently at odds with U.S. constitutional principles of equal protection and due process, typically enter the American court system through:

  • Comity (mutual respect of each country’s legal system)
  • Choice of law issues and
  • Choice of forum or venue

Granting comity to a foreign judgment is a matter of state law, and most state and federal courts will grant comity unless the recognition of the foreign judgment would violate some important public policy of the state. This doctrine, the “Void as against Public Policy Rule,” has a long and pedigreed history.

Unfortunately, because state legislatures have generally not been explicit about what their public policy is relative to foreign laws, including as an example, Shariah, the courts and the parties litigating in those courts are left to their own devices – first to know what Shariah is, and second, to understand that granting comity to a Shariah judgment may be at odds with  our state and federal constitutional principles in the specific matters at issue.

The goal of the American Laws for American Courts Act is a clear and unequivocal application of what should be the goal of all state courts: No U.S. citizen or resident should be denied the liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed in our constitutional republic. 

American Laws for American Courts is needed especially to protect women and children, identified by international human rights organizations as the primary victims of discriminatory foreign laws.

By promoting American Laws for American Courts, we are preserving individual liberties and freedoms which become eroded by the encroachment of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, such as Shariah.

It is imperative that we safeguard our constitutions’ fundamentals, particularly the individual guarantees in the Bill of Rights, the sovereignty of our Nation and its people, and the principles of the rule of law—American laws, not foreign laws.

MODEL LEGISLATION

 

AN ACT to protect rights and privileges granted under the United States or [State] Constitution.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE [GENERAL ASSEMBLY/LEGISLATURE] OF THE STATE OF [_____]:

The [general assembly/legislature] finds that it shall be the public policy of this state to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

The [general assembly/state legislature] fully recognizes the right to contract freely under the laws of this state, and also recognizes that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed pursuant to the state’s interest to protect and promote rights and privileges granted under the United States or [State] Constitution, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

[1] As used in this act, “foreign law, legal code, or system” means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals For the purposes of this act, foreign law shall not mean, nor shall it include, any laws of the Native American tribes in this state.

[2] Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

[3] A contract or contractual provision (if capable of segregation) which provides for the choice of a law, legal code or system to govern some or all of the disputes between the parties adjudicated by a court of law or by an arbitration panel arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the law, legal code or system chosen includes or incorporates any substantive or procedural law, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state.

[4] A. A contract or contractual provision (if capable of segregation) which provides for a jurisdiction for purposes of granting the courts or arbitration panels in personam jurisdiction over the parties to adjudicate any disputes between parties arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the jurisdiction chosen includes any law, legal code or system, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions, including but not limited to due process, freedom of religion, speech, or press, and any right of privacy or marriage as specifically defined by the constitution of this state. B. If a resident of this state, subject to personal jurisdiction in this state, seeks to maintain litigation, arbitration, agency or similarly binding proceedings in this state and if the courts of this state find that granting a claim of forum non conveniens or a related claim violates or would likely violate the fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions of the non-claimant in the foreign forum with respect to the matter in dispute, then it is the public policy of this state that the claim shall be denied.

[5] Without prejudice to any legal right, this act shall not apply to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, business association, or other legal entity that contracts to subject itself to foreign law in a jurisdiction other than this state or the United States.

[6] This subsection shall not apply to a church, religious corporation, association, or society, with respect to the individuals of a particular religion regarding matters that are purely ecclesiastical, to include, but not be limited to, matters of calling a pastor, excluding members from a church, electing church officers, matters concerning church bylaws, constitution, and doctrinal regulations and the conduct of other routine church business, where 1) the jurisdiction of the church would be final; and 2) the jurisdiction of the courts of this State would be contrary to the First Amendment of the United States and the Constitution of this State. This exemption in no way grants permission for any otherwise unlawful act under the guise of First Amendment protection.

[7] This statute shall not be interpreted by any court to conflict with any federal treaty or other international agreement to which the United States is a party to the extent that such treaty or international agreement preempts or is superior to state law on the matter at issue.

American Laws for American Courts has passed into law in the following states:

 

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