April 22, 2016 Radio Commentary

Foreign Law or U.S. Law

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, April 22, 2016 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Please answer this question: Would you rather be judged by laws passed in the United States or by laws used in foreign countries? Your answer is important, because it’s been an issue in several states, including Georgia, for several years, and still hasn’t been settled in Georgia!

In 2011 almost 20 states, including Georgia, had legislation banning the use of foreign law in their judicial systems. Since then, ten states passed their bills into law, but during the same five years, the Georgia legislature refused to mandate exclusive use of U.S. and Georgia law in court cases.

Currently, twenty-two states have almost-passed American Laws for American Courts (ALAC), or may be considering it. Georgia is one of those 22 states. Georgia’s bill introduced in 2011 had two sections – a prohibition against the use of foreign law and another section allowing trial venues to be moved into local counties. That bill died in committee. Continue reading

February 17, 2014 Newsletter

Bills Prohibit Foreign Law in Georgia Courts

S.R. 808 introduced by Senator Tommie Williams, January 28th proposes an amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would prohibit the application of foreign law in Georgia courts, if the foreign law violates rights guaranteed to citizens by the U.S. Constitution and the Georgia Constitution or the public policy of the State of Georgia. If S.R. 808 passes the House and Senate by a 2/3 vote, it would be a two-part question for voters on the November Ballot. To emphasis the question’s two parts, this writer has designated them (a) and (b) as follows:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as (a) to prohibit the application of foreign law in violation of rights guaranteed natural citizens by the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions and (b) to prohibit the application of laws enacted by other states in the U.S. that violate the public policy of the State of Georgia?”

Concerning (a) above: Since foreign law has already been applied in other states, to the detriment of their citizens, it’s expedient that legislators pass preventive measures before Georgia courts allow foreign law to influence judicial decisions. Certainly, Georgia should follow the lead of eight other states – Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Missouri and North Carolina – that prohibit the use of foreign law. In addition to those eight states, such action is pending in 20 other states, including Florida, where it was recently approved by the Florida House of Representatives.

Concerning (b) above: On Wednesday, February 12, 2014 the U.S. Western District Court of Kentucky at Louisville ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed outside that state, despite Kentucky’s law and constitutional amendment that do not recognize same-sex unions as marriage.

Therefore, Georgia SHOULD pass S.R. 808 as additional protection against any future judicial effort to strike Georgia’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage, prohibits same-sex marriage and prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriage conducted elsewhere.

ACTION – Support. Ask Senate Judiciary Committee members to vote YES on S.R. 808. Call Senators McKoon, Ch., 404 463-3931; Crosby, V.Ch., 463-5258; Bethel, 651-7738; Carter, 463-1376; Cowsert, 463-1383; Fort, 656-5091; Ligon, 656-0045; Stone, 463-1314; and Tippins, 657-0406.

H.B. 895 introduced by Representative Hightower on February 4, 2014 provides that no court, arbitration panel administrative agency, or other tribunal shall enforce a foreign law, if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or the Georgia Constitution. It defines the meaning of foreign law, supports and regulates S.R. 808, a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent the application of foreign law in Georgia courts.

ACTION – Support. Contact House Judiciary Committee Representatives Willard, Ch., 404 656-5124; Fleming, V-Ch., 656-0152; Allison, Sec., 656-0188; Bruce, 656-0314; Caldwell, 656-0325; Evans, 656-6372; Golick, 656-5943; Jacobs, 656-5116; Jones, 656-7859; Kelley, 656-0287; Lindsey, 656-5024; Mabra, 656-7859; Oliver, 656-0265; O’Neal, 656-5052; Powell, 656-7855; Rutledge, 656-0109; Stephenson, 656-0126; Welch, 656-0109; Weldon, 656-0213; and Wilkinson, 463-8143.

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