Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

Against Sovereign Immunity Erosion to Achieve 9/11 Accountability

By Jack Goldsmith
Friday, April 22, 2016, 7:13 AM

Curt Bradley and I have an op-ed in the NYT on the bill in Congress that aims to expose Saudi Arabia to lawsuits in American courts for its alleged connection to the 9/11 attacks. We argue that the bill would create a large exception to sovereign immunity that would violate international law and invite significant reciprocal retaliation against the United States. We conclude:

Congress has many options for increasing accountability for 9/11. It could directly provide additional compensation for the families of those killed and injured on 9/11, and it could investigate lingering questions about the attack itself. Delegating these important tasks to private plaintiffs and unelected federal courts is an all-too-familiar eschewal of congressional responsibility that will do significant harm to the United States in its many activities abroad.