WISCONSIN GOP JUMPS ON BANDWAGON TO SOLVE IMAGINARY PROBLEM OF SHARIA LAW! — “[N]one in Wisconsin, thankfully!”

http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2017/07/10/wisconsin-bill-preserving-u-s-laws-promoting-islamophobia/452810001/

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reports:

“Since 2010, at least 10 states have passed laws aimed at fighting what a network of far-right organizations insist is the encroachment of Sharia law into American courts.

Now, a group of state lawmakers would like to see Wisconsin follow suit.

State Rep. Thomas Weatherston (R-Caledonia) is spearheading an effort to pass a so-called “American Laws for American Courts” bill, which would bar Wisconsin judges from applying foreign laws — including those based on Islamic law — if doing so would violate fundamental human rights protected by the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions.

Weatherston said he’s “not concerned about Muslims.” In fact, his bill, like others across the country, doesn’t explicitly mention Sharia. But he is worried, he said, “about other countries’ laws creeping into the United States.”

“Especially religious laws, no matter what the origin is,” said Weatherston. “I’m just making sure that U.S. laws are heard in U.S. courts.”

Critics, including the American Bar Association and many non-Muslims, argue that the laws are unnecessary because such protections already exist in American jurisprudence. And they’re seen by many as part of a larger agenda to vilify Muslims.

“If you look at the promotional materials, the lobbying, it’s the same people who are pushing against Sharia around the country — holding rallies, talking about ‘Sharia creep’ and Muslims taking over,” said Asifa Quraishi-Landes, who teaches constitutional and Islamic law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and serves as president of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. “They see any acknowledgment of Sharia in American Muslim life as a first step to the Trojan Horse.”

Last week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Legislative leaders to reject the bill, saying it’s unconstitutional and “contrary to our nation’s crucial principle of not elevating or marginalizing one faith community.”

Sharia, meaning “path,” is the Islamic law, a set of guiding principles that touch on every aspect of Muslim life, from how one dresses and prays to marriage and business contracts. Aspects of it are embedded in the legal systems of Muslim-majority countries, and its tenets are interpreted variously based on the country and schools of Islamic thought. Those who are suspicious of Islam point to its harsher punishments, such as stoning and amputations in rare cases, and its bias in many cases against women.

American Laws for American Courts, or ALAC, was developed by the nonprofit advocacy group American Public Policy Alliance, David Yerushalmi of the Center for Security Policy and others as a way to address the constitutional challenges raised against the earliest versions of the laws — in Tennessee and Oklahoma — which explicitly singled out Sharia.

The newer versions make no mention of Sharia, referencing instead “foreign laws.” But the groups that promote them openly disparage Sharia as a threat to American values and liberties and a vehicle for imposing worldwide Islamic rule.”

. . . .

“Gélé said there have been hundreds of cases in which Islamic law has been invoked in U.S. courts, often to the detriment of women and children. And Weatherston said his office has found at least 70 others, though “none in Wisconsin, thankfully.”

Quraishi-Landes, the UW-Madison professor, disputes their claims. She said courts already look to public policy and constitutional protections — for example, the right to equal protection — as the bases for their rulings. She said she has reviewed all of the cases cited by the Center for Security Policy and found none in which the courts ultimatelyenforced a religious law that violated a fundamental civil right.

“To us, that is an example of the system working,” she said.

Invoking Sharia principles in a family matter is no different from other religious minorities invoking their religious principles in civil cases, she said, pointing to the Beth Dins, or rabbinical tribunals used by Orthodox Jews to negotiate disputes, which are recognized by state courts.

The “American Laws for American Courts” bills have been criticized by Jewish and Catholic groups concerned that their rights to invoke religious principles could also be affected.

In Catholic church bankruptcies, for example, including Milwaukee’s, the church has cited canon law to defend the way it responded to the sexual abuse crisis and to protect assets.

“Americans who care about religious liberty should be concerned about anti-Sharia laws,” even those purporting to address foreign laws, said Robert Vischer, dean of the School of Law at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis.

“Suggesting that the religious convictions of citizens have no place in our courts misunderstands the function of our legal system and sends a troubling message about the place of religion in our society.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

The GOP often “fakes” concern about expenditure of public funds. However, in reality, they waste countless taxpayer dollars pursuing unnecessary, unneeded, and divisive pet projects of the far right.

PWS

07-13-17

Temple Law Professor & Immigration Superstar Jaya Ramji-Nogales Is March 2017 ABA Journal Headliner!

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/female_first_chairs

Wow! I opened my March 2017 ABA Journal and told my wife, Cathy, “Hey, I know her. It’s Jaya!” Spectacular picture of a brilliant lawyer, teacher, clinician, advocate, humanitarian, role mode, and just all-around great human being!

For those of you who don’t know her, Jaya was a CALS Asylum Clinic Faculty Fellow working with Professors Andy Schoenholtz and Phil Schrag at Georgetown. Together, they wrote the “instant classic” Refugee Roulette, the seminal work on inconsistencies in U.S. asylum adjudication. And, according to the latest report about the Atlanta Immigration Court, that problem continues to fester.

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-qB

Jaya and her CALS Clinic students also appeared before me at the Arlington Immigration Court (prior to my appointment as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown which required me to recuse myself from all CALS cases).

The ABA article involving Jaya is “Female First Chairs” by Stephanie Francis Ward. Here’s a quote from Jaya:

“Drawing such attention to the issue also may be helping improve those results. In November, Liebenberg was one of two women appointed as lead counsel in a multidistrict litigation antitrust matter involving the antibiotic doxycycline. Presiding over the case, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania also appointed a woman as the defense’s lead counsel.

“We thought [multidistrict representation] was an important piece of the puzzle. These are high-profile cases. They bring in a lot of money and there’s very few women who get the appointments,” says Jaya Ramji-Nogales, a law professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law who is overseeing the MDL survey.

“Basically, these surveys document a phenomena that everyone knows is happening,” she says. “There are social norms that dictate how a woman can ask for things which don’t constrain men.”

There’s a hope that releasing more surveys as part of the ABF/ABA effort will keep attention on the issue of bias against women leading trials.”

Reads the full article at the top link. Congratulations Jaya! You are continuing to make a difference and are an inspiration to all of us!

PWS

03/04/17

 

 

 

 

American Bar Association Adopts Resolution Opposing President Trump’s Executive Order On Visas & Refugees!

https://us.vocuspr.com/Publish/515903/vcsPRAsset_515903_132952_3a1e221c-3f7f-4046-8513-36015233ac7e_0.jpg
American Bar Association
Communications and Media Relations Division
www.americanbar.org/news

Release: Immediate

Contact: Karen DeWitt
Phone: 202-662-1502
Email: Karen.DeWitt@americanbar.org
Online: http://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2017/02/aba_urges_president.html

ABA urges President Trump to withdraw order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries

MIAMI, Feb. 6, 2017 — The American Bar Association urged President Donald Trump today to withdraw the executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which restricts immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, suspends all refugee admission for 120 days and indefinitely suspends the entry of Syrian refugees.

By voice vote, the ABA House of Delegates, the association’s policy-making body, adopted resolution 10C calling on the executive branch to ensure full, prompt, and uniform compliance with court orders addressing the executive order.

The House––made up of 589 members representing state and local bar associations, ABA entities and ABA-affiliated organizations––also urged the administration to take care that all executive orders regarding border security, immigration enforcement and terrorism:

respect the bounds of the U.S. Constitution and due process rights;

not use religion or nationality as a basis for barring an otherwise eligible individual from admission to the United States;

adhere to the U.S.’s international law obligations relating to the status of refugees and to the principle of non-refoulement; and

facilitate a transparent, accessible, fair and efficient system of administering the immigration laws and policies of the United States and ensure protection for refugees, asylum seekers, torture victims and others deserving of humanitarian refuge;

In Resolution 10B, the House also reaffirmed the ABA’s support of legal protection for refugees, asylum seekers, torture victims, and others deserving of humanitarian refuge. It urged Congress to adopt additional legislation to appropriate funds for refugee applications and processing, and mandate that refugees receive an appropriate individualized assessment in a timely fashion that excludes national origin and religion as the basis for making such determination.

The association’s policy-making body discussion took place at the James L. Knight Center of the Hyatt Regency Miami. The session concluded the 2017 ABA Midyear Meeting, which began Feb. 1.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.

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American Bar Association, 321 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654-7598 United States

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Thanks to my good friend Dan Kowalski over at Lexis Nexis for forwarding this to me.

PWS

02/07/17