Awad v. Ziriax, et al, No. 10-6273 (10th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 2010, Oklahoma voters approved a state constitutional amendment that would prevent state courts from considering or using Sharia law. Members of the state election board asked the Tenth Circuit to review whether a federal district court abused its discretion when it granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the Board from certifying the result. Plaintiff Muneer Awad sued the Election Board to prevent the certification of ballot title "SQ 755" from the November 2, 2010 election. Plaintiff is an American citizen residing in Oklahoma, and is the executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Plaintiff alleged that SQ 755 violated his rights under both the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. He objected to the amendment's singling out his religion for negative treatment. The district court granted a temporary restraining order on November 9, 2010. On November 22, 2010, the court conducted an evidentiary hearing and granted a preliminary injunction one week later. On appeal to the Tenth Circuit, the Board argued that Plaintiff's claims were not justiciable, and even if Plaintiff's Establishment or Free Exercise claims were justiciable, each failed to meet preliminary injunction requirements. Upon careful consideration of the district court record and the constitutional questions posed by the parties' briefs, the Tenth Circuit held that Plaintiff's claims were justiciable and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the preliminary injunction based on those claims.