Congress Being Congress…

Posted: September 10, 2016 by Nazim in Legislation, Politics


On Friday, Congress passed a bill (Yay! They did something!) by consent, meaning the minority simply recognized that the majority had the numbers to pass it and therefore didn’t require a vote. The legislation, which will be vetoed by the president (which will not be overriden, so Congress basically didn’t do anything after all), allows the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government in US courts. This will be interesting.

The claims would probably be interesting: I’ve seen some individuals of the Saudi government had ties to some of the Al Qaeda members that had a hand in the attacks, but I’ve seen little evidence that the Saudi government proper had any role. However, I could be wrong about that, which would make it interesting.

But the notion that one sovereign government can unilaterally pass a law allowing it to sue another government in the first government’s courts is almost unprecedented. I say almost because this is almost what the Bank Markazi case was about, but there, Congress just wanted to remove sovereign immunity from foreign money in the US. Here, we’re dragging a foreign government into our courts. I can’t imagine Congress being okay with the opposite happening. Actually, I think that’s why Congress won’t ratify several treaties. Which is why many diplomatic veterans are throwing shade at the bill, saying that it’s more likely to just cause diplomatic waves than bring any justice about.

I guess Congress can try to do something some other time.

  1. Nazim says:

    … and they seem to have buyer’s remorse on passing the whole thing:

    “Even as they voted to override the veto, 28 senators asked the sponsors of the bill to mitigate the “unintended consequences of the bill.””


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s