Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

7/20/2005

An angle

Here's one angle one could, hypothetically speaking, attack John Roberts on:
In Acree v. Republic of Iraq (2004), seventeen American soldiers who had been tortured as POWs during the Gulf War filed suit against the Republic of Iraq, the Iraqi Intelligence Service, and Saddam Hussein.

Generally, under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), other countries are immune to lawsuits seeking money for injuries, but there is an exception when personal injury or death have been caused by torture or other acts of terrorism.

When the defendants failed to appear in court, the Washington, D.C. district court judged against them by default and awarded damages of more than $959 million to the 17 soldiers.

But the federal government contested the right of the district court to decide upon the subject matter, arguing that the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act (EWSAA) “made the terrorism exception of the FSIA inapplicable to Iraq" and that the District Court thus had no jurisdiction over the suit.

...Two sections in the Act address Gulf War veterans: Sec. 1701 limits the total amount of FEDERAL US temporary assistance to U.S. citizens harmed or impoverished from the war "or similar crisis" to less than $1 million a year, and Chapter 8 grants additional money to the Department of Veterans Affairs for processing Persian Gulf veterans claims. Thus it was tangentially related to the case.

The district court denied the federal motion based on timing, but the federal government appealed and in the DC Circuit Appellate Court, the three-member panel unanimously decided the district court erred in the technicality denying the federal government's intervention.

However, Judges Harry Edwards and David Tatel held that the district court did indeed have jurisdiction over the case. Bush's shiny new nominee Judge Roberts disagreed, agrguing for the Feds that the EWSAA “deprived the courts of jurisdiction over suits against Iraq” for damages resulting from torture and other terrorist acts.

Had his (and the Bush Administration's) position carried the day, American soldiers tortured in Iraq would have become permanently unable to seek restitution in federal court.

Judges Edwards and Tatel concluded there was nothing in the EWSAA or its legislative history “to suggest that Congress intended [it] to alter the jurisdiction of the federal courts under the FSIA.”

They further pointed out Judge Roberts' and the federal government's position would grant Iraq immunity from damages “...even for acts that occurred while... still considered a sponsor of terrorism.”

They also found “little sense” in such a "bizarre" interpretation of the EWSAA, considering the sunset provisions of the Act would theoretically deprive the courts of jurisdiction only from May 7, 2003 till September 30, 2004 “based on events that occurred while Iraq was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

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