More Anti-Sharia initiatives Planned, OK AG to Fight Court Decision
Remember the now struck-down Oklahoma referendum to ban Sharia? Well, the new OK AG is going to fight to get it reinstated.
[Supporters] are pinning their hopes on Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt, a minor league baseball team owner and former state senator who has already made a big mark on religious laws in Oklahoma.
“This is just round one,” said Jordan Sekulow, an attorney at the American Center for Law & Justice, a conservative legal firm advising Oklahoma state Sen. Anthony Sykes, who co-authored the anti-Shariah amendment.
Supporters of the referendum and Oklahoma legal observers say Pruitt, a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, will be more involved in the case than his predecessor, W.A. Drew Edmondson.
Sykes has criticized Edmondson, a Democrat, for his handling of the measure, but told a state newspaper that he looks forward to Pruitt taking office. “We are going to have a new attorney general in January and I look forward to fighting this,” Sykes told The Duncan Banner. […]
“I know Scott Pruitt, and I know he’ll be far more aggressive,” said James Thomas a professor at the University of Tulsa’s law college and a member of the legal team challenging an English-only referendum that Oklahoma voters also passed last month.
“One of the responsibilities of the attorney general is to enforce the law. So this is the law. [Ed. Well, since it was found possibly unconstitutional by the court and an injunction is put against it, then it is not the law, but let’s not get picky here.] When we take office, we will faithfully and dutifully enforce the law, and defend it,” said [Pruitt aide] Drwenski.
As co-owner of the Oklahoma City Redhawks minor league baseball team, Pruitt is already a well-known figure in Oklahoma. Conservative Christians gave strong support to Pruitt, a Republican who touted his religious background during the campaign for attorney general, especially as a fighter for freedom of religious expression.
His first case as a young lawyer was helping a state employee criticized for holding Bible study in her home get her job back, according to Pruitt’s website.
As a state senator in 2000, he co-authored the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, which, according to his website, “makes it more difficult for a government to burden an individual’s practicing of his or her faith, even in the public square.”
But a legal twist may force Pruitt to battle his own legislation, or at least how it is interpreted. U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange cited the Religious Freedom Act in her ruling against the referendum.
The act states that “no governmental entity shall substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion,” unless there is an overriding government interest.
So get this - the guy who authored a “Religious Freedom Act” is going to defend a state initiative that was struck down because it likely violates free exercise of religion!
But even if this referendum fails in the courts, Sekulow said anti-Shariah activists would not be deterred from introducing similar measures in other states. “We’ve already started drafting amendments similar to this that would be even more constitutionally airtight,” Sekulow said.
Oh, fine. Now other States will have to put up with these things, and more courts cases will be created to strike down what are obviously sectarian manipulations of laws.