The Man Behind Anti-Sharia Proposals from Nieves and Curtman

Via Mother Jones, The Turner Report and Show Me Progress, it looks like the man behind HB708 and SB308 this year is not a Missouri legislator, but a hateful man from Arizona named David Yerushalmi. Sen. Brian Nieves (R-Freedom Bunker) and Rep. Paul Curtman (R-Pacific), chief sponsors of the legislation, don't appear to be advertising this fact, but a quick analysis of Yerushalmi's suggested language legislation and the language put forward by Nieves and Curtman makes the connection pretty obvious (see them side by side below the fold).

For an idea of what Yerushalmi is all about, here's a quick summary from the Orlando Sentinel:

David Yerushalmi, who has encouraged legislative action against sharia in several states, is an Arizona man who has pushed for a war against Islam and people of that faith, according to the report. He is also an attorney who works for a group called the Society of Americans for National Existence, which at least one Muslim group has called a hate group. In the past, Yerushalmi, who is himself Jewish, has also argued that whites are superior to blacks and declared liberal Jews to be a menace akin to fatal parasite. He also defended actor Mel Gibson after Gibson made anti-Semitic statements several years ago, according to the report.

Sharia law is based on the Koran. In some western countries, Muslims maintain Sharia courts to handle personal, family and religious matters — a practice not unlike the Orthodox Jewish courts known as beit din.

Here's how Mother Jones writer Tim Murphy summarizes Yerushalmi's legislation that have popped up around the country:

With the exception of SB 1028 [a even more radical bill in Tennessee], much of Yerushalmi's legislation sounds pretty innocuous: State courts are prohibited from considering any foreign law that doesn't fully honor the rights enshrined in the US and state constitutions. Because a Taliban-style interpretation of Islamic law is unheard of in the United States, the law's impact is non-existent at best. But critics of some of the proposed bills have argued they could have far-reaching and unintended consequences, like undoing anti-kidnapping statutes, and hindering the ability of local companies to enter into contracts overseas.

A quick side-by-side comparison of the Yerushalmi's proposed language, Curtman's bill and Nieves' bill should remove any doubt about where their legislation came from.

David Yerushalmi's suggested legislation Curtman's HB708 Nieves' SB308

The [general assembly/state legislature] fully recognizes the right to contract freely under the laws of this state, and also recognizes that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed pursuant to the state’s interest to protect and promote rights and privileges granted under the United States or [State] Constitution.

1.400. 1. The general assembly fully recognizes the right to contract freely under the laws of this state, and also recognizes that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed in accordance with the state's interest to protect and promote rights and privileges granted under the constitutions of this state and the United States.

 

[1] As used in this act, “foreign law, legal code, or system” means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals.

2. As used in this section, "foreign law, legal code, or system" means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including but not limited to international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction's courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals.

4. As used in this section, "foreign law, legal code, or system"
means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction's courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals.

[2] Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions.

3. Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision violates the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable if such court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any law, legal code, or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the constitutions of this state and the United States.

506.530. 1. Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency ruling or decision shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative agency bases its rulings or decisions in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any foreign law, legal code, or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Missouri constitutions.

[3] A contract or contractual provision (if capable of segregation) which provides for the choice of a law, legal code or system to govern some or all of the disputes between the parties adjudicated by a court of law or by an arbitration panel arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the law, legal code or system chosen includes or incorporates any substantive or procedural law, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions.

4. A contract or contractual provision which provides for the choice of law, legal code, or system to govern some or all of the disputes between the parties adjudicated by a court of law or by an arbitration panel arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the law, legal code, or system chosen includes or incorporates any substantive or procedural law, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the constitutions of this state and the United States.

2. A contract or contractual provision, if capable of segregation, which provides for the choice of a foreign law, legal code, or system to govern some or all of the disputes between the parties adjudicated by a court of law or by an arbitration panel arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the foreign law, legal code, or system chosen includes or incorporates any substantive or procedural law, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Missouri constitutions.

[4] A. A contract or contractual provision (if capable of segregation) which provides for a jurisdiction for purposes of granting the courts or arbitration panels in personam jurisdiction over the parties to adjudicate any disputes between parties arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this State and be void and unenforceable if the jurisdiction chosen includes any law, legal code or system, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions.

5. (1) A contract or contractual provision which provides for a jurisdiction for purposes of granting the courts or arbitration panels in personam jurisdiction over the parties to adjudicate any disputes between parties arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the jurisdiction chosen includes any law, legal code, or system, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the constitutions of this state and the United States.

3. (1) A contract or contractual provision, if capable of segregation, which provides for jurisdiction for purposes of granting the courts or arbitration panels in personam jurisdiction over the parties to adjudicate any disputes between parties arising from the contract mutually agreed upon shall violate the public policy of this state and be void and unenforceable if the jurisdiction chosen includes any foreign law, legal code, or system, as applied to the dispute at issue, that would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Missouri constitutions.

B. If a resident of this state, subject to personal jurisdiction in this state, seeks to maintain litigation, arbitration, agency or similarly binding proceedings in this state and if the courts of this state find that granting a claim of forum non conveniens or a related claim violates or would likely violate the fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the U.S. and [State] Constitutions of the non-claimant in the foreign forum with respect to the matter in dispute, then it is the public policy of this state that the claim shall be denied. (2) If a resident of this state, subject to personal jurisdiction in this state, seeks to maintain litigation, arbitration, agency, or similar binding proceedings in this state and if the courts of this state find that granting a claim of forum non conveniens or a related claim violates or would likely violate the fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the constitutions of this state and the United States of the nonclaimant in the foreign forum with respect to the matter in dispute, it is the public policy of this state that the claim shall be denied.

(2) If a resident of this state, subject to personal jurisdiction in
this state, seeks to maintain litigation, arbitration, agency, or similarly binding proceedings in this state and if the courts of this state find that granting a claim of forum non conveniens or a related claim violates or would likely violate the fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Missouri constitutions of the nonclaimant in the foreign forum with respect to the matter in dispute, then it is the public policy of this state that the claim shall be denied.

 

To be sure, the proposals from Nieves, Curtman et al. to address this non-existant threat would be a waste of time and resources, no matter who drafted the language. But following up on yesterday's incredible story in the Post-Dispatch about the friend tobacco lobbyist writing legislation for Rep. Ellen Brandom, it's worth a look at who is actually doing the work behind pliant legislators in the Missouri General Assembly.

Image credit: Center for Security Policy

 

 

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