Posted: 3:19 pm ET
Congress has overturned President Obama’s veto of S.2040 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Here is a quick sumary of the bill:
Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act
This bill amends the federal judicial code to narrow the scope of foreign sovereign immunity by authorizing U.S. courts to hear cases involving claims against a foreign state for injuries, death, or damages that occur inside the United States as a result of a tort, including an act of terrorism, committed anywhere by a foreign state or official.
It amends the federal criminal code to permit civil claims against a foreign state or official for injuries, death, or damages from an act of international terrorism. Additionally, the bill authorizes federal courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over and impose liability on a person who commits, or aids, abets, or conspires to commit, an act of international terrorism against a U.S. national.
Of course, sovereign immunity does not just apply to other countries like Saudi Arabia, it is also afforded the United States in other countries. A senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Vox that “If you breach a state’s sovereign immunity, then the argument against your own sovereign immunity being breached is weaker.” Also:
As one hypothetical example, the Iraqi government could pass a law allowing its citizens to sue the US government for damages they suffered during the Iraq war. And if the US lost the lawsuit in the Iraqi courts, Gartenstein-Ross explained, the Iraqi government would legally be able to seize US assets in the country to pay the victims.
There goes our billion dollar embassy in Baghdad. Not to mention diplomatic posts in over 280 locations and 662 military overseas bases in 38 foreign countries.
Click here (PDF) for a good read on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act from the Federal Judicial Center.
And now this:
We could not locate the Congressional Research Service’s paper on JASTA but here is one on the specific claims against Saudi Arabia defendants under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) that you might find useful.