Congress passed a bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for enabling some of its citizens to carry out the attacks. But President Obama vetoed the measure, saying that it would violate the principle that sovereign nations are immune from foreign lawsuits by private citizens and will open the United States to similar suits.
Yesterday, in a rare show of bipartisan unity, Congress overrode the veto. That requires 2/3 of the vote, but this override was 97-1 in the Senate and 348 to 77 in the Senate, as Democrats voted against their own president.
That’s satisfying emotionally, but is it wise for Congress to interfere in foreign relations, traditionally the domain of the Executive Branch? And is it wise to throw out sovereign immunity? Won’t this jeopardize American military, intelligence, and diplomatic operatives, as well as claims from foreign citizens who don’t like us against the nation as a whole? Or is it worth the risk to get back at Saudi Arabia? [Read more…]