Congress overrides Obama’s veto of bill permitting lawsuits against foreign sponsors of terrorism

Congress overrides Obama’s veto of bill permitting lawsuits against foreign sponsors of terrorism

[Ed– An earlier version of this story identified Sen. Harry Reid as a supporter of JASTA. In fact, Reid’s was the only dissenting vote in the Senate. We apologize for the error.]

In a way, it’s refreshing to see Barack Obama — a man who has overstepped the limits of presidential power on more occasions than anyone cares to remember — get his head handed to him by the legsilative branch. Regrettably, Congress chose to flex its muscles on an occasion where Obama, I believe, had it right.

At issue was the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which the president vetoed last week. Earlier today, Congress voted to override his veto by a margin of 97-1, marking a first in his presidency.

As CNN noted:

The White House claimed [by way of explaining the veto] the legislation could expose US diplomats and servicemen to litigation in other countries….

Obama further argued that the law could “would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

In a Sept. 27 editorial, the New York Post further argued in support of Obama’s objections:

The core problem: 9/11 was no slip-and-fall tort; it was an act of war. If Saudi princes played a key role in the attack (and that’s far from certain), then America should respond.


We don’t often agree with Obama, but this time he’s right: The cloak of promised “justice” for victims doesn’t justify giving private lawyers unprecedented power over the US government, or putting America’s overseas interests at risk.

A final problem with the law is the yet-to-be-answered question of who will adjudicate it. Presumably it would be World Court, which is the judicial branch of the U.N., a worthless entity.

I don’t agree with Obama either 99% of the time, but if the alternative is aligning with the likes of Chuck Schumer, count me out.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer and regular contributor to "Liberty Unyielding."


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