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87 Ind. L.J. Supp. 1 (2011-2012)

handle is hein.journals/spplmntinlj4 and id is 1 raw text is: Oklahoma and Beyond: Understanding the Wave of State
Anti-Transnational Law Initiatives'
On November 2, 2010, Oklahoma voters decisively adopted Question 755, a
ballot initiative to amend Section 1, Art. VII of the state's constitution by adding
the following language:
[State and Municipal courts], when exercising their judicial authority,
shall uphold and adhere to the law as provided in the United States
Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, the United States Code,
federal regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, established common
law, the Oklahoma Statutes and rules promulgated pursuant thereto,
and if necessary the law of another state of the United States provided
the law of the other state does not include Sharia Law, in making
judicial decisions. The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of
other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider
international law or Sharia Law. The provisions of this subsection shall
apply to all cases before the respective courts including, but not limited
to, cases of first impression.'
This text was approved by the legislature and designated as a ballot referendum on
May 25, 2010.2 According to press reports, the ballot initiative garnered more than
seventy percent approval from Oklahoma voters.
Before the vote could be certified by the Oklahoma State Election Board,
Oklahoma resident Muneer Awad filed a lawsuit in the Western District of
Oklahoma seeking to enjoin the law on First Amendment grounds.4 An adherent of
Islam, Awad alleged that the law singles out one specific religious legal tradition,
Sharia, for special negative treatment. The federal judge granted a preliminary
t Copyright C 2011 Martha F. Davis & Johanna Kalb.
* Professor of Law, Northeastern University Law School. The authors would like to
thank Sarah Delorey and Ken Parker for excellent research assistance and Jamil Dakwar,
Praveen Fernandes, Peter Krug. Penny Venetis. Hedy Weinberg, and Joseph Thai for their
thoughtful comments. The Indiana Law Journal Supplement provided excellent editorial
assistance. An earlier version of this Essay was published as an Issue Brief by the American
Constitution Society.
** Associate Professor of Law. Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.
1. H.R.J. Res. 1056. 52nd Leg., 2d Sess. (as enrolled May 25. 2010). available at
https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/questions/755.pdf (outlining the complete text of the
legislative resolution).
2. Id.
3. See Ariane de Vogue, Federal Judge Bars Oklahoma Ballot Initiative on Sharia
Law, ABC NEWS (Nov. 29, 2010), http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/federal-judge-bars-
4. Id.
5. See Awad v. Ziriax, 754 F. Supp. 2d 1298, 1302 (W.D. Okla. 2010).

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