Biden Silent on Bill to Ensure Justice for 9/11 Families
On the 22nd anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement urging President Biden to support his bipartisan Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which would strengthen the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act to help families of victims of terrorism seek financial compensation from foreign sponsors of terrorism, after months of silence from the White House:
“Today is a solemn reminder of the pain and grief felt by those who lost loved ones in the September 11th attacks, and they deserve to have their day in court and a chance to get long-overdue closure,” said Sen. Cornyn. “The Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act would allow these brave 9/11 families to seek justice in a court of law, and President Biden’s silence on whether he supports these American heroes over those who carried out these devastating attacks is deafening.”
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) was introduced by Sens. Cornyn and Schumer in 2015 and passed both the Senate and House with broad bipartisan support. The bill was enacted into law by Congress in 2016 following an override of President Obama’s veto—the only override of his administration. This bill amends the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act so that foreign sponsors of terrorism cannot invoke “sovereign immunity” in cases arising from a terrorist attack that kills an American on American soil. JASTA also amends the Anti-Terrorism Act so that civil suits against foreign sponsors of terrorism can be held accountable in U.S. courts where their conducts contributes to an attack that kills an American.
The Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (EJVTA) makes three technical corrections to JASTA that would:
- Clarify that injured plaintiffs can sue foreign state defendants for aiding and abetting terrorism and ensure that liability may be asserted as to any person or entity that aids or abets terrorism;
- Ensure that plaintiffs, if they obtain on a JASTA claim, can collect their judgement;
- And clarify that all U.S. citizens injured in their person, business, or property may recover under JASTA.
Last week, more than 4,000 9/11 victims and their families signed a letter urging Congress to pass this legislation.