Just days ahead of the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, many of those affected are one step closer to getting justice. Russia Today just reported that; House Resolution 3815, also known as the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” or JASTA, creates an exception to sovereign immunity created by a 1976 law, thus allowing US citizens to sue foreign countries for terrorism that kills Americans on US soil. The law has been invoked to shield Saudi Arabia from lawsuits over the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Fifteen out of 19 men who hijacked commercial airliners and used them as missiles to target the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were subjects of the Saudi kingdom.
U.S. House approves by voice vote bill allowing 9/11 lawsuits against foreign countries & nationals. pic.twitter.com/tInCq0fq4m
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 9, 2016
The Senate version of JASTA, proposed by John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Charles Schumer (D-New York), was approved in May by 100 votes to zero. The House approved it on Friday by unanimous consent, giving the Republican-dominated legislature the ability to override a veto from President Barack Obama. Both the vote in the Senate and then in the House were voice votes.
According to the New York Times, the Saudi government has threatened that it would liquidate hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if the bill becomes law, “although many experts say they believe it is an empty threat.” If they’re making threats like that, they must be worried that some of those lawsuits have some merit.
President Obama is expected to veto the bill, in which case it will take a 2/3rd majority in the House and Senate to override. Proponents of the bill believe that they’ll have the 2/3rds majority needed to do that, according to the Washington Post.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]