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Research Report

Foreign Law Bans: Legal Uncertainties and Practical Problems

Published: May 16, 2013

Over the last two years, lawmakers in 32 states have introduced and debated bills seeking to ban foreign, international, and religious laws in state courts. Five states—Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arizona—have already enacted foreign law bans and many more are picking up speed. Fueled by a growing tide of anti-Muslim sentiment, these bans create a host of unintended consequences ranging from confusion over how courts should treat marriages, divorces and premarital agreements with religious or foreign origins to uncertainty over how international businesses conduct commercial transactions in the United States.