Fighting Terror With Lawyers?
Recently, Congress and President Obama have clashed over legislation known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA. It says that U.S. citizens who were injured or lost family members in the 9/11 terrorist attacks may sue Saudi Arabia’s government. (Fifteen of the 19 attackers were Saudi citizens. U.S. investigators have connected some low-level Saudi officials to the attackers and suspect there was even greater government involvement, but they haven’t found proof.) Both houses of Congress passed JASTA by wide margins, but President Obama vetoed it, saying that allowing people to sue governments would set a dangerous precedent that would leave U.S. officials and military personnel open to lawsuits from abroad. Last week, Congress voted overwhelmingly to override the president’s veto and make JASTA law. Experts predict a series of trials involving as many as 9,000 plaintiffs that could last years and cost billions of dollars.
- Who are the subjects depicted in the cartoon? Why do you think they’re being dropped from a bomber?
- Why would a lawyer be considered dangerous? What does the cartoonist mean by calling lawyers “America’s most-feared weapon”?
- What point do you think the cartoonist is trying to make? Do you agree or disagree?
- Do you think citizens who lost family members or were injured in terrorist attacks should have the right to sue governments that may have played a role in the attacks? Why or why not?
- Saudi Arabia is one of America’s strongest allies in the Middle East. How do you think JASTA will affect that relationship?