States have the power to ban cultural defenses under the police powers doctrine. However, any attempt to ban the use of Sharia as a cultural defense presents a serious problem. Because Sharia is a religious doctrine, any statute regulating Sharia must survive scrutiny under the religion clauses of the First Amendment. As a result of Supreme Court precedent, states are only permitted to ban the use of Sharia as a cultural defense if the statute is neutral and of general applicability. This Comment analyzes Awad v. Ziriax, in which the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma struck down an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution barring the use of Sharia in courtrooms. This Comment then proposes a statutory solution that would survive First Amendment scrutiny, allowing states to ban Sharia as a defense to criminal offenses.
A Holey Cause: Sharia as a Cultural Defense,
Dick. L. Rev.
Available at: https://ideas.dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/dlra/vol117/iss2/9