Missouri Governor Vetoes Problematic Foreign Law Ban

June 3, 2013

New York - Today, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed Senate Bill 267, a measure that would have banned the use of foreign law in the state’s courts. The Brennan Center applauds the governor’s decision and urges other states where similar bans have been proposed to reject them for the practical and legal problems they are likely to create.  

“This is an entirely unnecessary law,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “Proponents of these bans have failed to cite a single instance where a court’s reliance on foreign law has deprived any Missourian of his or her rights. Foreign law bans are a product of the anti-Muslim movement and seek to sow discord among Americans,” Patel said.

The bill will now return to Missouri’s legislature in September for another vote. Overriding the Governor’s veto requires a two-thirds majority of both the House and the Senate.

“Legislators who previously voted for this bill should think twice about the legal ramifications and practical problems it will create before casting their vote in September,” said Amos Toh of the Brennan Center for Justice. “After a year of studying foreign law bans, we find these bills to be unnecessary and likely to have an adverse impact on families, businesses and Americans of all faiths.”  

The Brennan Center and the Center for American Progress released a report last month highlighting the unintended consequences of foreign law bans. Read the full report here. Watch a video of a panel discussion on foreign law bans here.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Seth Hoy at seth.hoy@nyu.edu or (646) 292-8369.