For the first time in his presidency, the United State Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to override Barack Obama’s veto of legislation allowing people to sue foreign sponsors of terrorism.
The move is likely to secure what is a historic defeat – the House is expected to do the same – being the first veto of Barack Obama’s presidency overturned by Congress.
On Friday, Obama vetoed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (or JATA) – claiming it would infringe on the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy. It was only the 12th veto of his presidency, USA Today is reporting.
The families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack were shocked when the Obama Administration announced they were against the bill that would allow them to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their role in the attacks.
Obama and his team lobbied Congress hard, but in the end they could not convince many lawmakers.
“In our polarized politics of today, this is pretty much close to a miraculous occurrence,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Democrats and Republicans in both chambers have agreed, he said, that the bill “gives the victims of the terrorist attack on our own soil an opportunity to seek the justice they deserve.”
The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he shared some of Obama’s concerns but said the victims’ rights outweighed them.
“We cannot in good conscience close the courthouse door to those families who have suffered unimaginable losses,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said.
The House will vote next and Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi already said she will vote to override the veto – meaning many of her lawmaker-toady followers will do the same.
“I’ve worked with these families for a very long time, and I think they should have their day in court,” she told reporters.
The measure was approved in the House by voice vote earlier this month and sailed through the Senate by unanimous consent in May. In recent weeks, however, there has been some pushback against the bill, which would create an exception to sovereign immunity, the doctrine that holds one country can’t be sued in another country’s courts.
Source: The Federalist