By Adam Brown
By Adam Brown
Rabat – On November 30th John McCain and Lindsey Graham proposed changes to JASTA in order to narrow the focus of the legislation and avoid international backlash.
In an announcement yesterday, Senators McCain (R- Arizona) and Graham (R- South Carolina) proposed an amendment to the highly publicized Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The law is designed to allow for citizens of the United States to engage in civil suits against countries such as Saudi Arabia for their involvement in funding organizations responsible for the September 11th attacks.
JASTA was originally vetoed by President Obama due to concerns about the potential downsides for foreign policy. Congress was able to perform a veto override, with “The vote in the Senate to reject Obama’s veto [being] 97-1, and 348-77 in the House,” according to the Politico.
However, many congress members voiced their concerns about the vulnerabilities that expose the U.S. to similar civil suits. Countries such as Iraq may attempt to open a civil suit against the U.S. for civilian casualties due to drone strikes.
The motion may also defy the concept of sovereign immunity. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) stated, “Everybody was aware of who the potential beneficiaries were but no one had really focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships.”
The amendment that McCain and Graham proposed yesterday aims to close this loophole and ensure that the message of the law is targeted enough to serve the intended purpose of providing a course of action for families who suffered personal loss during 9/11.
In Graham’s speech today he stated, “I don’t want any nation state, including ours, to be sued for a discretionary act unless that discretionary act encompasses knowingly engaging in the financing or sponsorship of terrorism whether directly or indirectly.” If the amendment passes, the scope of the law should shrink significantly, which has angered some supporters of the original law, saying that this modification would reduce the law’s original effectiveness.
JASTA was originally passed on September 28th of this year