The Norman Transcript


November 6, 2013

Local attorney to receive Courageous Lawyer award



For example, Oklahoma wouldn’t be able to recognize a marriage that occurred in a foreign country because the marriage would have occurred under foreign law.

“It was amazing. There were exhibits we introduced that showed what people were thinking about this amendment,” he said.

Salem still keeps a postcard sent to him during that time that basically asked him to tell his client, Awad, that if he didn’t like it here, he should get on his camel and go home. Awad was born in Michigan and went to school in Georgia, Salem said with a laugh.

“That card just kind of illustrates the depth of ignorance people have about this,” he said.

It also was a reminder of the prejudice still very prevalent today and how close it came to the surface in the litigation.

Salem said he hopes the litigation is used for education about civic responsibility and constitutional rights and the dangers that come along with making decisions about people based upon their religious beliefs.

He’s not sure the Oklahoma legislature has learned his lesson about this yet, he said.

“Litigation is meant to create understanding,” he said. “I just wonder how many more teaching moments we can afford.”

Other cases of note: Salem also has been involved in numerous other cases dealing with federal civil rights litigation, which he has devoted a substantial amount of his practice to. Some of those included challenging religious practices in elementary schools involving the Little Axe and New Lima school districts in 1985 and 1992, respectively.

The Little Axe lawsuit garnered him the Oklahoma Courageous Advocacy Award for the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1984. Salem said the case was referenced in the congressional debate that took place in the ’80s dealing with religion in schools.

The New Lima lawsuit is, to Salem’s knowledge, the only establishment clause ever tried to a jury, which ruled in favor of his client.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Coaches Luncheon Mixon question off-limits at coaches luncheon

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived Wednesday at Journey Church....

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mixon will not participate in practice

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today. Freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there. The school announced the decision Wednesday night....

    July 31, 2014

  • Nova Pettigrew Music community bands together to raise money for 2-year-old’s battle with rare form of cancer

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deputies cleared, return to work

    Two deputies involved in a deadly shooting earlier this month are expected to return to work today after being cleared by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. “They (the Sheriff’s Office) gave me their investigation, I ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Sales tax-free weekend set to begin this weekend

    When stores open Friday morning, shoppers may be waiting. Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday is slated to run this weekend with the special exemption beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday....

    July 31, 2014

  • India landslide kills 21

    NEW DELHI — Rescuers worked in rain today to dig through a remote village in western India where at least 21 people died as a landslide swept away scores of houses, possibly trapping many more people under debris, officials said....

    July 31, 2014

  • Israeli strike hits UN school

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel’s stepped up campaign against ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Busted water main dumps 20 million gallons of water into UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and adjacent garage

    LOS ANGELES — The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a mucky mess points to the risks and expense many cities ...

    July 31, 2014

  • GOP-led House gives go-ahead for suit

    WASHINGTON — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Just a day before ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Randall Lee Sherrill, 34, possession of juvenile pornography · Dewey Leon Kinsey, 37, possession of controlled dangerous ...

    July 31, 2014