The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, not generally known for its progressive bent, on Tuesday affirmed a lower court ruling that had prevented Oklahoma’s so-called “sharia ban” from taking effect. The 37-page decision by the three-judge panel was unanimous and useful in providing some early context about the nature of these laws and the trouble they are likely to find when they bump up against the First Amendment’s religion clauses.
The case is still in a procedural phase; the 10th Circuit merely affirmed that a federal trial judge in Oklahoma had not abused her discretion in November 2010 when she issued a preliminary injunction banning Oklahoma officials from activating into law State Question 755. That’s the ballot initiative from the 2010 election, approved overwhelmingly by Oklahoma voters, that purports to forbid Oklahoma’s courts from recognizing international law — especially sharia law.