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Weinstein comments on 'Sharia Law ruling'


February 23, 2012

James Weinstein, Amelia Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law at the College of Law, was recently quoted on Channel 3 in an article, titled “Sharia Law ruling.” It reported on why lawmakers and voters turned down an Oklahoma constitutional amendment preventing the use of Sharia Law in its courts.

Weinstein said the wording of the law led to problems because the “law discriminates against one type of religion.”

He also said the law also had a number of constitutional conflicts.

"The court relied on the Establishment Clause, which seems on first glance to be an unusual way to address a case like this because how are you establishing a religion, as a matter of fact, you are almost doing the opposite," Weinstein said. "But the court has long held that favoring a religion or discriminating against a religion can violate Establishment Clause principals.”

"They could have also done it on free exercise grounds. There is a case that says if you discriminate against a religion you violate the free exercise clause. Or they could have done it under the equal protection clause, and said if you discriminate against a religion you are violating the equal protection guarantee of the 14th Amendment.”

Watch the video and read the article here.

Weinstein’s areas of academic interest are constitutional law, especially free speech, as well as jurisprudence and legal history. He is co-editor of "Extreme Speech and Democracy" (Oxford University Press 2009, paperback edition 2010); the author of "Hate Speech, Pornography and the Radical Attack on Free Speech Doctrine" (Westview Press 1999); and has written numerous articles in law review symposia on a variety of free speech topics, including: free speech theory, obscenity doctrine, institutional review boards, commercial speech, database protection, campaign finance reform, the relationship between free speech and constitutional rights, hate crimes, and campus speech codes.