Welcome to Kalamna, the student blog of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Failure to Ban Foreign Law in South Dakota

Two bills, which sought to ban foreign law in South Dakota, failed to pass in its legislature on Thursday. Tim Murphy of Mother Jones magazine reported the story on Friday.

Both bills resemble the South Carolina bill. They target foreign and international law, and do not explicitly mention the sharīʿa. (any direct reference to sharīʿa is unfeasable as it would likely be struck down.)

More specifically, House Joint Resolution no. 1004 sought to prohibit "the application of international law, the law of foreign nations, and certain foreign religious or moral codes in the state courts of South Dakota." Similarly, Senate Bill No. 201 sought to "restrict the application of certain foreign laws, legal codes, and system with respect to state legal proceedings."

Banning foreign or international in South Dakota would have interfered with treaties with other countries on child abduction and custody. It would have made it difficult for banks to do business overseas and interfered with Native American tribal courts, among other issues.

One of the sponsors of the bills, Rep. Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City), also tried (unsuccessfully) to introduce legislation that would define abortion as "justifiable homicide."

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