Texas courts would be prohibited from applying foreign laws – such as Islamic Sharia law – when they conflict with the rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Texas constitutions, if Reps. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) and Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville) have their way.
The House approved a Berman amendment Tuesday to an omnibus courts bill (HB 79) that prohibits Texas courts from applying foreign laws in family cases, when they conflict with constitutional rights. Berman's amendment was filed during the regular session as HB 911. It passed the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee unanimously, but died in the House Calendars Committee.
"We have a constitution of the United States and laws of the United States. We have a constitution and laws of Texas," said Berman, noting that legislators take an oath to the U.S. and Texas constitutions upon taking office, not foreign jurisdictions. "I thought that doing this – prohibiting Texas courts from using any international law, culture, rules, or regulations – would be one way to protect Texas residents from Sharia law."