Only one week after the people of Oklahoma voted in favor of an amendment to their constitution which would prohibit state courts from using either international or Sharia law to decide cases, a federal judge moved to block the measure. The Oklahoman reports:
U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order on the certification and said she will take up the matter again on Nov. 22 to determine whether a preliminary injunction is warranted.
At issue is a voter-approved amendment baring Oklahoma courts from considering international law or Sharia law when making decisions.
Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relatiuons, filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the amendment as unconstitutional. He sought the restraining order and a preliminary injunction to keep the state board from certifying the amendment.
Judge Miles-LaGrange (a 1994 Clinton appointee) said that the temporary restraining order would remain in effect for 14 days, allowing the attorney general's office to file briefs and Mr. Awad to respond. Scott Boughton, the Assistant Attorney General said that issuing the restraining order would "frustrate the will of the Legislature and the will of the voters."
Outside the Oklahoma City courtroom Mr. Awad and his fellow Muslim activists celebrated their victory while the authors of the proposed amendment, Representative Rex Duncan (R-Sand Springs) and Senator Anthony Skyles (R-Moore) spoke with the press.
Duncan said he was disappointed that the attorney general's office had not files written briefs with the court.
"It's a little disappointing that the state has filed no beiefs. They just showed up this morning," Duncan said.
Skyles said he was looking forward to Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt getting involved in the case.
Duncan said while Oklahoma courts have yet to consider Sharia law, the measure was "Targeting activist judges who want to make up the law as they go."
By acting swiftly to subvert the sovereign will of the people of Oklahoma, Judge Miles-LaGrange replicates the unseemly haste with which she was confirmed. In 1994 when Miles-LaGrange was nominated by Bill Clinton, she was fast-tracked and confirmed by the lame duck Senate. Could there be any sense of urgency for Miles-LaGrange to have the current (lame duck Democrat) Attorney General, W.A. Drew Edmonson act on behalf of the state?