We need your help in contacting Arkansas legislators (names and contact information at the end of this blog). Pleast try to contact all of them, but if you can only contact one or two please concentrate on Sens. Johnson and Burnett- Burkasrugly
SB229 is common-sense legislation that protects Arkansas residents’ individual, fundamental constitutional rights from foreign laws or legal doctrines where the application of those laws/doctrines would violate those constitutional rights.
No particular foreign law is singled out. The proposal applies to them all. It’s that simple.
Contact by constituents will make a great impact. Following is a sample letter that you can use, or you can write your own and send to the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (The 4 Republicans on the committee already support it). If you prefer you may call them. Either way, please be courteous. Nothing turns off a legislator faster than someone who is disrespectful. Remember, the legislators are very busy and may not be as knowledgeable about this subject as we are simply because they have not had time to research it. This is your chance to educate them about the danger of foreign law encroaching upon our courts. It would be a good idea to put something in the subject line like “Please support American Laws for American Courts.”
I urge you to vote ‘Yes’ for SB229, American Laws for American Courts (ALAC), when it comes up for a vote again in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
ALAC recently passed the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 20-0. This committee is made up of 12 Republicans and 8 Democrats. The unanimous vote for this bill indicates that there is strong support for it regardless of party affiliation.
ALAC is needed especially to protect women and children, identified by international human rights organizations as the primary victims of discriminatory foreign laws. It will protect the civil rights of women and children who are trying to get out of dangerous situations that involve domestic violence. We need to let these women and children know that the government will listen and respond to their plight.
American Laws for American Courts (SB229) simply protects Arkansas citizens from the incursion of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, if those laws infringe upon their state or federal fundamental constitutional rights.
If you don’t think that this may become a problem, please consider this: The Center for Security Policy has identified 142 cases involving foreign law from 32 different state and federal courts in a widely referenced report. The report highlights the top 20 cases (starting on page 22 and they are short overviews, only a paragraph or two) and can be accessed here: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Shariah_in_American_Courts1.pdf
One of the most notorious cases involved a Moroccan couple in New Jersey. The husband was physically and sexually abusing his wife and he did so because he said that he believed that it was his right under foreign law. One judge in New Jersey even sided with the husband, but fortunately it was overturned when the New Jersey appellate court stated that the trial court erroneously had allowed the husband’s religious beliefs – which were based on foreign law – to excuse him from New Jersey law.
We certainly do not want this to happen in our state. This is why I am urging you to support SB229.
Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee