A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

North Carolina governor allows anti-Sharia bill to become law

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory [official website] on Sunday allowed a bill that prohibits North Carolina judges from considering Islamic law in their decisions to become law. House Bill 522 [text, PDF] prevents courts from applying foreign law in divorce, alimony and child custody actions, if doing so would violate a person's federal or state constitutional rights. Although the bill does not specifically identify Islamic law, critics argue that the bill's only purpose is to invoke anti-Muslim sentiments since the US Constitution already supersedes foreign law. In an action alert [text] urging McCrory to veto the bill, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [advocacy website] stated "The bill itself is intended to marginalize and stigmatize North Carolina Muslims and will have a negative impact on the rights of people of all faiths and backgrounds." In a statement [press release] Friday, McCrory deemed the law "unnecessary," but revealed that he would allow the bill to become law without his signature.

Anti-Sharia legislation has been proposed in 30 states and adopted by seven including North Carolina. Earlier this month, a federal judge in Oklahoma barred the state [Reuters report] from adding a measure to its constitution that would ban state courts from considering Sharia under any circumstances, stating that it would violate the freedom of religion provisions in the US Constitution. In June Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a similar bill [WP report], asserting that the legislation would make it harder for families to adopt children from overseas.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.