The 9/11 victims families pushed hard to be able to sue The Saudi Government….
It’s an election year and Republican’s eager to present President Obama with his first veto. and incoming US Senate leader Chuck Schumer of New York making sure that a New York advantaged Bill gets thru Congress, was voted over President Obama’s protests about the unintended consequences of the Law…
True Obama NEVER really tried hard to work a deal with the Congress before things got down to vote….
So his veto WAS roundly overridden….
The second the vote was over ?
Several Congressmen began to get ‘buyers remorse ‘ on their vote….
Well Bloomberg Magazine is out with what could be a way for Congress show a vote to support the 9/11 families and make the Saudi’s and President Obama happy also….
It seems that the US Constituion may nullify the 9/11 Vote and Veto override….
At the risk of oversimplifying some truly complex issues in the law of civil procedure, here’s the issue. In passing the bill, Congress was amending a law called the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. That law says you can’t sue a foreign government in U.S. courts, except for a few specific exceptions, such as when the foreign government is engaged in U.S. commerce.
The terrorism bill added a new exception. It says that an American can sue a foreign government for damages “occurring in the United States and caused by an act of international terrorism in the United States; and a tortious act or acts of the foreign state … regardless where the tortious act or acts of the foreign state occurred.”
Translated into English, that means you can sue a foreign government when the act of terrorism occurred in the U.S., as the Sept. 11 attacks did, so long as the foreign government contributed to causing the attack. Under the act, it doesn’t matter where the foreign government contributed to causing the attack. In theory, if the Saudi government took actions within its own country to fund al-Qaeda and that contributed to the attacks, that would authorize the suit.
But the constitutional law that governs whom you can sue, and where, isn’t so simple — and because it’s based on the Constitution, Congress can’t legislate around it. According to the Supreme Court’s interpretation, a U.S. court must have what is called “personal jurisdiction” over any defendant for a lawsuit to go forward.
Personal jurisdiction comes in two flavors, general and specific. It would be almost impossible for the courts to have general jurisdiction over the government of Saudi Arabia, because a foreign entity must be “at home” to be sued under current precedent. It was on this ground that the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals recently rejected a lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization under the Anti-Terrorism Act. If the those groups are only “at home” in Ramallah, as the court held, the Saudi government is similarly only “at home” in Riyadh.
That leaves specific jurisdiction as the only way to haul the Saudi kingdom into court under the new bill. And the constitutional bar is probably higher than what Congress wrote into the law….
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