What do you get when Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) come up with a way to “fix” a bipartisan bill that previously passed the Senate nearly unanimously with a 97-1 vote?
A bad idea. Or worse…corruption. The two cohorts recently announced that they are drafting legislation to change the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that was passed and enacted over President Obama’s veto.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has also joined the effort. The fix reportedly would add language to the law making it harder for victims to have a day in court because very stringent requirements would be in place to allow a case to proceed forward.
The JASTA bill didn’t just squeak by. It passed with overwhelming majorities of both houses of Congress, then passed again over the president’s veto. The law provides the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 the authority to file lawsuits against supporters of the attacks.
This begs the question. Why?
Why would three powerful and long-serving Senators want to make it harder on 9/11 families and other victims of terrorist attack? Why would they seek to go against the will of the people in such a powerful way?
Why now might be more appropriate. Graham and McCain have a window of time before the swamp draining begins. President Elect Donald Trump will be no friend to anything going against the 9/11 victims. Whatever has been promised to McCain and Graham will vanish like a Saudi Arabian mirage!
While Donald Trump was running for president he made it painfully clear where he would come down on this issue. He went as far as to post a statement on his campaign website from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani’s statement lamented that the victims had gone through unimaginable pain and the families “deserve the opportunity to seek justice and gain closure on this painful chapter in their lives.” If the Graham-McCain-Hatch “fix,” is signed into law, the law will be gutted and victims will not get their day in court.
That means the DC swamp-rats have a very limited amount of time to take care of their friend’s in the middle-east. This kind of thing is exactly why the average American can’t stand the members of congress as a whole and why Trump’s idea of draining the swamp appealed to so many people.
The JASTA bill was truly “Bi-partisan” and was originally introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). and the last vote to override President Obama’s veto passed by a 97-1 vote. Sens. Graham and McCain are calling their new bill a JASTA “fix” to make it sound innocuous, yet it will essentially repeal the law and leave victims’ families out in the cold.
The old saying goes “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied” and that would be the case with this new legislation. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 Americans were killed, and more than 6,000 more injured. Nineteen Islamic extremist terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; it is not a surprise that the Kingdom is the strongest opponent of the JASTA law.
The opponents of this law claim make a number of false claims. First, they fear monger and argue that other nations will exact revenge if we haul them into court. The truth is that the law was drafted narrowly to only apply to this fact pattern where foreign nations used commercial aircrafts, in a coordinated attack, as weapons of mass destruction.
Sens. Graham, McCain and Hatch are trying to undo a just law and are making a big mistake. They understand what they are doing is politically unpopular which is why they waited until after election day to announce their nefarious plans. It will be opposed by virtually everyone in leadership, President Trump, Republican Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The victims deserve justice and a day in court. Congress should not change JASTA to deny 9/11 victims a small measure of justice. McCain, Graham, and Hatch are simply part of the swamp that needs draining.