9/11 Lawsuit Law Could Hurt Veterans
Allowing suits against Saudi Arabia may cause counter suits of U.S. and its military vets.
Veteran entrepreneurs and business owners are integral to Wisconsin’s communities and our economy. According to the US Small Business Administration, veterans are twice as likely to own a business as the general population. However, due to the unique challenges veterans face, the percentage of veteran owned businesses surviving 10 years or more is significantly lower than the percentage of all businesses surviving the same time period. The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) creates additional barriers to success for veteran business owners, and presents serious consequences for our military service members.
This legislation is intended to allow the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for any role it had in terrorist operations. Congress voted to approve the legislation earlier this year, and voted to override President Obama’s veto in September. While the aim of the legislation is certainly admirable, it carries serious consequences for veterans, service members, and military families in Wisconsin and across the country.
In addition, JASTA presents serious consequences for our national security and the ability of our military execute their mission. Litigants pursuing action against a foreign government in U.S. court, or foreign those pursuing action against the United States in a foreign court, could seek sensitive government information, including classified material, in order to establish their case. This would jeopardize national security or place the United States in the position of disclosing sensitive or classified information or suffering adverse rulings.
The desire to give the families of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 their day in court is understandable. However, the precedent set by this legislation, and the consequences it presents for our economic prosperity and national security, are too grave to ignore. Please contact Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, and tell them to repeal JASTA and work to find a way to bring justice to the families of the victims of 9/11 without these negative consequences.
Saul Newton is a U.S. Army veteran and Executive Director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce.