At Least It’s A Short Session…..

My own children weren’t among those who feared monsters under the bed, but I had friends who regularly had to assure their toddlers that the room had been cleared of things that go bump in the night.

Those children evidently grew up to populate the Indiana General Assembly.

Senator Kruse has filed Senate Bill 90, aimed at preventing Indiana courts from applying Sharia law. Because that is so likely to happen here. This trend began last year in Oklahoma, and legal blogs report that in addition to Indiana, five states are considering such legislation: Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Carolina and Wyoming. (Not surprisingly, these are not states that top the educational achievement lists….)

Senate Bill 90 “Prohibits the enforcement of a foreign law (defined as a law established and used outside the jurisdiction of the United States) if the enforcement would violate a right granted by the Indiana or U.S. Constitution.” It prohibits people from entering into a contract to apply foreign law to ┬ácontract disputes, and prohibits courts from transferring cases to other jurisdictions if the transfer is likely to “affect the constitutional rights of the nonmoving party.”

I’m not sure what effect this would have on the application of international trade laws, or the Law of the Sea, and it does appear to interfere with the right of two parties to decide for themselves what law will apply to their contracts. I’m not sure how judges are supposed to know whether courts in other jurisdictions–say New York or California–might rule in ways that the bill’s sponsor believes will “affect” the constitutional rights of the nonmoving party.

Indiana faces significant challenges. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. Our local governments are starving for resources. Our infrastructure needs outstrip our ability to address them. We continue to fight over the best way to improve our substandard schools. So our legislators have gotten really busy–outlawing Sharia law and promoting creationism. (More on that tomorrow.)

Given the language of the bill, it probably passes constitutional muster. So would a bill outlawing monsters under the bed.