Sharia Law Legislation in Indiana
Indiana Senate Bill 16 (SB 16) seeks to target use of Sharia Law by judges in the state of Indiana.
According to the bill digest:
Application of foreign law. Provides that a court may not apply, enforce, or grant comity, res judicata, claim preclusion, or issue preclusion to a foreign law, ruling, or judgment if doing so would violate the fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Indiana. Provides that a provision in a contract or agreement that: (1) provides for the choice of foreign laws in its interpretation; or (2) provides for the choice of venue or forum; and that would result in a violation of a fundamental liberty, right, or privilege guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Indiana is void and unenforceable. Prohibits a court from granting certain motions if the transfer is likely to affect the constitutional rights of the nonmoving party. Provides that a court may not require or authorize any court to: (1) adjudicate or prohibit a religious organization from adjudicating ecclesiastical matters; or (2) determine or interpret the doctrine of a religious organization.
While federal law already prohibits the use of Sharia Law (and other foreign laws) for domestic cases, legal experts have raised constitutional concerns about the bill.
David Orentlicher, a constitutional law professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, said the bill isn’t needed because courts already protect fundamental constitutional rights. Further, he said, the law could impact foreign proceedings that are usually recognized here, such as foreign marriages and divorces.
“It doesn’t solve an existing problem, and creates a new problem,” Orentlicher said.