The US Senate voted to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the bill that would allow Americans to potentially sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11. This is the first veto override during the Obama presidency.
Obama vetoed the bill last week, explaining that the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” (JASTA) would erode the doctrine of sovereign immunity and expose the US to lawsuits around the world.
JASTA, which passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate, allows US judges to waive sovereign immunity claims when dealing with acts of terrorism committed on American soil – potentially allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia over the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.
The issue appears to cross party lines, with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) pushing for a veto override while Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) is concerned it would “end up exporting [US] foreign policy to trial lawyers.”