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Case Name Awad v. Ziriax FA-OK-0004
Docket / Court 5:10-cv-01186 ( W.D. Okla. )
State/Territory Oklahoma
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On November 4, 2010, a devout and practicing Muslim filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against the Oklahoma State Election Board under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, asked the court to issue a preliminary ... read more >
On November 4, 2010, a devout and practicing Muslim filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against the Oklahoma State Election Board under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction against the Board certifying the election results of SQ 755's amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution. SQ 755 is a state initiative passed by the citizens of Oklahoma which, in relevant part, forbids judges from "considering or using Sharia Law" when deciding cases. Specifically, plaintiff claimed that the amendment violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment.

On November 29, 2010, Chief District Court Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange granted plaintiff a preliminary injunction against certifying SQ 755. 754 F.Supp.2d 1298 (2010). The court found that plaintiff showed a substantial likelihood of success in demonstrating that SQ 755 had the primary effect of inhibiting religion and that the amendment fostered an excessive government entanglement with religion. The court also noted that the loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, constitutes irreparable injury in the absence of injunctive relief. The court concluded that the loss of plaintiff's First Amendment freedoms outweighed any injury that would occur from delaying the will of the voters being carried out by certifying the election results. The preliminary injunction was ordered until a decision could be made on the merits.

On December 1, 2010, the defendant appealed the district court's decision granting the preliminary injunction. On January 10, 2012, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision. 670 F.3d 1111 (2010). On July 29, 2012, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint. The amended complaint added new plaintiffs to the case, retained those challenges made to SQ 755 articulated in the original complaint, and asked the court to permanently enjoin Defendants from certifying the election results of SQ 755. On February 8, 2013, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment.

On August 15, 2013, Chief District Court Judge Miles-LaGrange granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and permanently enjoined defendants from certifying the election results for SQ 755.966 F.Supp.2d 1198 (2013). The court found that SQ 755's explicit and deliberate distinctions among religions warranted strict scrutiny. The court found that Oklahoma's articulated interest "in determining what law is applied in Oklahoma courts" was not compelling. Because the case failed the first step of the scrutiny analysis, there was no need to analyze tailoring. The court then found that the unconstitutional aspect of SQ 755 could not be severed, and declared the law unconstitutional.

On April 25, 2014, Chief District Court Judge Miles-LaGrange awarded plaintiff attorney fees and non-taxable expenses in the amount of $303,333.49. 2014 WL 1660650.

Richard Jolly - 10/14/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
International law
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Oklahoma State Election Board
Plaintiff Description A practicing Muslim whose faith informs many aspects of his life.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2013 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
5:10-cv-1186 (W.D. Okla.) 09/08/2014
FA-OK-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint Seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction 11/04/2010
FA-OK-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Temporary Restraining Order 11/09/2010 (W.D. Okla.)
FA-OK-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Preliminary Injunction] 11/29/2010 (754 F.Supp.2d 1298) (W.D. Okla.)
FA-OK-0004-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Affirming District Court's Judgment] 01/10/2012 (670 F.3d 1111)
FA-OK-0004-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 07/29/2012
FA-OK-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment] 08/15/2013 (966 F.Supp.2d 1198) (W.D. Okla.)
FA-OK-0004-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney Fees and Non-Taxable Income] 04/25/2014 (2014 WL 1660650) (W.D. Okla.)
FA-OK-0004-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Matheson, Scott Milne Jr. (Tenth Circuit)
FA-OK-0004-0008
McKay, Monroe G. (Tenth Circuit)
FA-OK-0004-0008
Miles-LaGrange, Vicki (W.D. Okla.)
FA-OK-0004-0002 | FA-OK-0004-0005 | FA-OK-0004-0007 | FA-OK-0004-0009 | FA-OK-0004-9000
O'Brien, Terrence L. (Tenth Circuit)
FA-OK-0004-0008
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bhatnagar, Chandra S. (New York)
FA-OK-0004-9000
Mach, Daniel (District of Columbia)
FA-OK-0004-9000
Salem, Micheal (Oklahoma)
FA-OK-0004-0003 | FA-OK-0004-9000
Weaver, Heather Lynn (District of Columbia)
FA-OK-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Greenwalt, Sarah A. (Oklahoma)
FA-OK-0004-9000
Preslar, Jamie S. (Oklahoma)
FA-OK-0004-9000
Wyrick, Patrick (Oklahoma)
FA-OK-0004-9000
Other Lawyers Calvey, Kevin J. (Oklahoma)
FA-OK-0004-9000

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