Both the Arizona House and Senate are considering identical bills that would prohibit Arizona courts from using, implementing, referring to or incorporating any law or court decision of a foreign jurisdiction in the court’s findings or decisions. The House bill is HB 2379. The Senate bill is SB 1026. Each bill provides:
Any decision or ratification of a private agreement that is determined, on the merits, by a judge in this state who relies on any body of religious sectarian law or foreign law is null and void, is appealable error and is grounds for impeachment and removal from office.
That is a stiff penalty for a judge who boo boos and uses foreign law. I am not a litigator or a law professor so I will defer to Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law for his take on the proposed law. He is not a fan. See his post called “Arizona Bill to Bar Use of Foreign and Religious Law” in which he states:
“It’s pretty remarkable: If a contract provides that it is to be decided under, say, English law (or Mexican law), a judge wouldn’t be able to apply that law (see subsection C) — on penalty of impeachment. . . . Are such radical changes to longstanding Arizona law really sensible?”
There are lengthy legislative findings stated in each bill, which is called the “Arizona foreign decisions act.” See the bills linked to above. I challenge anybody to read the legislative findings and translate it into English.