First civil lawsuits of new 9/11 law filed
A widow whose husband was killed while working at the Pentagon during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, filed suit against Saudi Arabia recently. Stephanie Ross DeSimone’s suit is the first civil suit by an American citizen against Saudi Arabia over 9/11, according to GOP USA. DeSimone's suit says that Saudi Arabia should compensate her and her daughter for the death of DeSimone's husband, Navy Cmdr. Patrick Dunn, because Saudi Arabia is culpable for 9/11.
DeSimone was able to file suit thanks to the recently enacted Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. JASTA allows the families of 9/11 victims to “take civil actions against foreign governments shown to be sponsors of terrorism” according to GOP USA.
President Barack Obama vetoed JASTA when it came to him to be signed into law, according to KQED. Congress worked together to override Obama’s veto. The Senate voted 97 to 1, and the House of Representatives voted 348 to 77 to bypass Obama's veto and enact the legislation. JASTA was the first successful congressional override of a presidential veto during the Obama administration.
If other nations follow suit and enact laws similar to JASTA, the Obama administration fears that members of the U.S. government and even men and women serving in the U.S. military could be subject to lawsuits in foreign courts, according to KQED.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said to KQED that the erosion of sovereign immunity would be disastrous for the United States.
"Let's face it. We're the greatest nation on earth. We have more involvements around the world than any country," said Corker. "We've got assets deployed all around the world more than any country. So if sovereign immunity recedes, we're the nation that is most exposed."