COLUMBIA, S.C. – A legislative initiative aimed at preventing “a court or other enforcement authority” from enforcing foreign law in the Palmetto State was introduced today in both the S.C. House and Senate by Rep. Wendy Nanney (who drafted the bill) and Sen. Mike Fair respectively, who say the bill will preempt violations of a person’s constitutional rights resulting from the application of foreign law.I have worked briefly with Wendy Nanney, and I know that she is a conscientious politician. Her comments about Sharia law almost got her a Tancredo Award, but nevertheless, the actual bill is a much better one that what we saw in Oklahoma. By broadening the language of the bill to restrict any type of foreign law, conservatives appear more consistent in their beliefs.
Legislators and other proponents of the bill say America has unique values of liberty which do not exist in foreign legal systems. Yet foreign laws are increasingly finding their way into U.S. court cases, particularly in the area of family law, involving divorce and child custody where, for instance, Islamic Shariah Law has been invoked in several U.S. states.
They also refrain from singling out scary ethnic groups (although Nanney still got in a lick). There is no reason to pinpoint Sharia Law, because despite what Newt Gingrich thinks, there is no threat from secret Muslim conspirators who want to take over American courts. All together we can cite one criminal case where "Sharia Law" was invoked by a judge in New Jersey. His decision was later reversed and rightfully so. Yet, if Newt (and Nanney) is concerned about the use of arbitration in civil cases, then he ought to pick on the Jewish community, who daily are allowed to go before the beit din (rabbinic law court) to arbitrate "real estate deals, nasty divorces, and business disputes."
Of course, we all know that Newt and company aren't going to lead a crusade against the radical imposition of rabbinic law. There are no quality political points to be had in attacking God's people. Muslims, on the hand, are open season.
In the end, there are profound reasons why conservatives should guard against foreign law. But let's throw up a wall against all foreign law (see South Carolina bill), instead of smiling in the camera as we bash Islam (see Oklahoma law).
Cross posted at The Cross Culturalist.