By lopsided votes, Congress overrode the President’s veto of JASTA, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The vote in the Senate was 97 to 1, and in the House of Representatives the vote was 348 to 77. What’s done is done, but it just seems very odd to me for the country with the greatest presence in other countries around the world to be knocking holes in the doctrine of sovereign immunity.
The Senate in particular has not acquitted itself particularly well here. Almost immediately after the vote, senators began expressing second thoughts. Some of them blamed the President for the bill they had just passed! Here is the majority leader, Sen. McConnell:
I find this difficult to understand. The President issued a veto message that explained the bad consequences of the bill. Some prominent commentators weighed in against the bill. So I don’t know how Congress can suggest that its passage of the bill over the President’s veto was somehow the President’s fault. It seems to me that no one wanted to pay the political price of voting against 9/11 victims even though some at least recognized the problems with the bill, and now they want to cast blame elsewhere. Not exactly a profile in courage moment.