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Is Congress Making a Grave Mistake By Overriding PBO's Veto?

  1. My Esoteric profile image89
    My Esotericposted 2 months ago

    The subject is the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" which seeks to amend 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 [b]tort[b], including an act of terrorism, committed anywhere by a foreign state or official."

    This a huge hole in a law that also protects America or Americans from being sued by foreign nations.  It is huge because the definition of "Tort" is "a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability.".  This amendment goes far beyond suing for acts of terrorism in America.

    The Act which the law being amended implements the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.  Other nations have reciprocal laws which prevent their citizens from suing the United States.  If this Terrorism Act veto is overridden, then that throws the door wide-open for foreign citizens to sue the United States in THEIR justice system if they perceive the United States has committed tortuous acts, ANY tortuous act against them.

    I think this Act was passed because of group think, just like when Congress gave President Bush the authority to invade Iraq.  It was the patriotic thing to do, of course, but a devastatingly stupid decision nevertheless.  This Terrorism Act is the same, a feel-good piece of legislation that can do irreparable harm to America.

    1. Live to Learn profile image81
      Live to Learnposted 2 months ago in reply to this

      You are right. It can do irreparable harm. But considering the world we now live in it is legislation long over due.

      And America should be held to the same standard. If our government or its officials conduct our affairs in such a way that a citizen of another country can legitimately claim tortuous harm what rationale could be used to claim they have no right to legal recourse?

      1. My Esoteric profile image89
        My Esotericposted 2 months ago in reply to this

        In a perfect world yes, but it isn't perfect and it never will be.  The fact of the matter, if they effectively rescind the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which this override will do, then there is nothing to stop nations who are pissed at us for real or imagined reasons from suing us in THEIR courts, not ares, using their brand of justice or injustice.  Congress is opening up, given human nature as it is, legal nightmare and lawyers are going to be the new billionaires.

        I wrote my Representatives this;

        Dear Senator:

        If you are planning to vote to override President Obama's veto of this legislation I hope you will reconsider.  This is the worst piece of legislation, in my opinion, since Congress voted to give President Bush the authority to invade Iraq; the same dynamic is at play - Group think.

        This Act is NOT about what its title suggests ... state sponsors of terrorism.  It IS about ANY tortuous act committed against citizens of the United States in the United States.  Terrorism is but a small subset of those Torts.

        Sticking with terrorism for the moment, since the definition of "terrorism" is in the eye of the beholder, anybody in any nation can define it however they want, so that voting for this veto override throws the door wide open for suits against American and perhaps Americans.

        Because the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act is reciprocated by most, if not all other nations, you will have permission for any person from a foreign nation who has suffered injury from our War on Terror to sue the United States since their nation will no longer be required to hold up their end of the bargain.

        Since this Act pertains to ANY Tort, then your vote against your President, allows foreign citizens to sue America in their foreign court for any and all perceived wrongs ... common sense dictates this outcome.

        If it is your intent to leave America vulnerable to this kind of "legal terrorism" then go ahead and vote to override your President.

        Otherwise, stand behind common sense and vote again the override.

        Thank you for your consideration.

        Scott Belford

        1. Live to Learn profile image81
          Live to Learnposted 2 months ago in reply to this

          I would still disagree. I honestly believe individual citizens should have the right to ask for justice. I do get what you are saying and I do realize that this will open up a very large can of worms. There will be, what we consider to be, frivolous and fraudulent claims. But, along with those will be reasonable demands for justice.

          Clandestine operations such as the one which has driven this bill into the Congress should not be allowed to go unchallenged. Of course, America has its share of dirty, behind the scenes, deny deny deny actions outside of our borders. If these actions cause harm to individuals in foreign nations I see no reason to think they should have less avenues of recourse than had these actions happened within our borders.

          1. My Esoteric profile image89
            My Esotericposted 2 months ago in reply to this

            LivetoLearn, it isn't clandestine actives behind JASTA, it is the political benefit from pushing through a feel-good, patriotic-sounding piece of legislation which potentially has world-wide, catastrophic downsides.  I am not being hyperbolic for I understand human nature.  It will be used as a tool to hurt America by our enemies and with a slight potential to lead to conflict.  (Probably not between America and another, but between others now that the gloves are off.)

            I don't mean to be snarky, but you are proposing to throw the baby-out-with-the-bathwater by allowing a law to be passed where, in American courts, it will be near impossible to prove what the families hope to prove ... the evidence simply isn't there.  In foreign courts, it is much more likely to obtain verdicts against America when the evidence doesn't warrant it.

  2. ahorseback profile image47
    ahorsebackposted 2 months ago

    As much as I disagree with this administrations policies ,  I must say that  this WOULD open an incredible" can of worms "    , The world courts would be immediately swamped with any and every case known to man  ,  As usual  ,t he wrong people would reap the rewards of legal  pay outs  , The attorneys , the  Judges , the politicians !, If anyone thinks any settlement money would make it to the real victims ?   Wrong ........

    1. My Esoteric profile image89
      My Esotericposted 2 months ago in reply to this

      That is what I think, except it wouldn't be the World Courts, they aren't needed.  Under the terms of JASTA, foreign citizens can sue America in foreign courts using foreign laws to adjudicate it.

      1. wilderness profile image96
        wildernessposted 2 months ago in reply to this

        I have to admit I'm a little puzzled by all this.  We're going to make it possible to sue foreign governments, operating in foreign countries under foreign laws, as being accountable in the US, in US courts with US laws and trial methods?

        Have we really become so self important that we imagine American laws must apply all over the world?  And if the sentence is "Guilty" how will we ever impose sentence?  Do foreign countries maintain large bank accounts in the US that can be confiscated?  Will we grab the funds of private businesses or people to satisfy judgement against a government?  Will we close embassies until the bill is paid?

        1. My Esoteric profile image89
          My Esotericposted 2 months ago in reply to this

          As I think I said somewhere else, Wilderness, it is the same type of patriotic group-think that blinded almost all of Congress and American people (happily I can say I was not one of them) into believing it was necessary to invade Iraq in order to fight terrorism.

          ISIS is the (foreseeable, IMO) end result of the vote to authorize Bush to invade Iraq.  I think the long-term downside to this decision will be even worse ... not just for America but for the world.

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 2 months ago in reply to this

            How does the law propose to apply punishment?  Ignore that it will never be paid and that no government can be put in jail?

          2. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 2 months ago in reply to this

            What makes you think Iraq was about terrorism?  Afghanistan, yes, but Iraq?

            1. My Esoteric profile image89
              My Esotericposted 2 months ago in reply to this

              Because that was the entire basis of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld reasoning and sales pitch for going to war with Iraq.  I know you were alive then, don't you remember the whole kerfuffle?

              This will give you the sourced material on it.

              1. wilderness profile image96
                wildernessposted 2 months ago in reply to this

                I remember something about WMD's, but nothing that we went to war over terrorism.

                1. My Esoteric profile image89
                  My Esotericposted 2 months ago in reply to this

                  Then read the link, it will open your eyes. (Actually, read the sources used in the article since I doubt you believe Wikipedia.

                  1. wilderness profile image96
                    wildernessposted 2 months ago in reply to this

                    umm...there is no link.

  3. Kathleen Cochran profile image85
    Kathleen Cochranposted 2 months ago

    "just like when Congress gave President Bush the authority to invade Iraq.  It was the patriotic thing to do, of course, but a devastatingly stupid decision nevertheless."  Absolutely.  Yes, it will make us feel good in the beginning, but like all the other unintended consequences we have suffered, it will bite us in the end.  For once, Congress, just agree with the President on this one.

  4. TorontoCaricature profile image62
    TorontoCaricatureposted 2 months ago

    lol- 1 million Iraqis dead for Cheney's war of deliberate regional destabilization to exploit for war profiteering was 'wrong' you say - and NOT terrorism? 'nothing 'we did' in Iraq was terrorism? Ask all the maimed soldiers and civilians, the creation of ISIS directly from the war, the secular massacres resulting from the war, the horrific birth defects resulting from depleted uranium from US weapons..... kicking in doors of Iraqi families and detaining innocent Iraqis and humiliating them and sometimes murdering them as was the procedure of Cheney's US trained Iraqi death squads; not terrorism you say from your comfy armchair.

    1. My Esoteric profile image89
      My Esotericposted 2 months ago in reply to this

      It was Bush's war, he was the person who chose to listen to Cheney and Rumsfeld.

      Yes, millions of Iraqi people died, but American's didn't kill them, for the most part.  The massive majority were killed by religeous and terrorist warfare.

      Now would those people be dead if Bush hadn't invaded?  Absolutely!  Is  Bush responsible for all those deaths?  Is Bush responsible for ISIS, you betcha.  But, when we fought the war, we didn't fight it as terrorists.

 
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