Sunday, September 11, 2016

From the NYT: House Passes Bill Allowing 9/11 Lawsuits Against Saudi Arabia; White House Hints at Veto

Great checking and balancing going on here. Congress is expanding the jurisdiction of the judiciary, the president is promising to veto, but the bill passed with more than enough votes to override it. Shows the control the general public has over the House - its tough to vote against this sort of thing just prior to the anniversary of 9/11, Even though it it may not be the wisest thing to do. Critics worry about nations allowing their citizens to sue the US in their courts.

- Click here for the article.

Here;s a chunk of it:

The bill “is a politically cost-free way for Congress to send a signal of seeming seriousness about terrorism on the dawn of the 15th anniversary of 9/11,” said Jack Goldsmith, a professor of law at Harvard who served in the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush. “Congress itself could have investigated lingering questions about 9/11, but instead is delegating those tasks to the unelected judiciary. The costs of the law will be borne by courts, which are an awkward place to ascertain Saudi responsibility for 9/11, and especially the president, who will have to deal with the diplomatic fallout with Saudi Arabia and other nations.”
The bill addresses a 1976 law that gives other countries broad immunity from American lawsuits. It amends the law to allow for nations to be sued in federal courts if they are found to have played any role in terrorist attacks that killed Americans on home soil. It also allows Americans to direct financial claims against those who funded the attacks.
The administration has argued that it would put Americans at legal risk overseas. That position seemed at least somewhat validated when Pierre Lellouche, a member of the French Parliament who is chairman of the rough equivalent in France of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would pursue legislation that would permit French citizens to sue the United States with cause.
"I have sympathy with the notion of hitting those countries which actively support terrorism,” Mr. Lellouche said Friday. But the American bill “will cause a legal revolution in international law with major political consequences.”

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