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Subject: Sovereign immunity, what's it good for? rss

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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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In a unrelated thread, the recent topic of suing the Saudi Arabian government for elements of it possibly sponsoring the 9/11 attacks has come up. Surprisingly, I don't think we have a thread yet on this sticky wicket Obama finds himself in. The JASTA bill (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/204...) looks to ignore sovereign immunity to enable the families of 911 victims and victims themselves to sue Saudi Arabian government entities. Congress passed it, Obama vetoed it, Congress may override. Both Trump and Clinton support the bill, but they can conveniently do that for now for votes.

Now, from what I gather, this would allows countries to be sued in our courts. That does not mean these countries are bound to do anything about the rulings right? I'm not a lawyer and my intent with this thread is to find out what the real consequences might be. Unless we have a treaty with another country that says we will honor the rulings of their court and vice versa, these people will just pissing into the wind so to speak, no?
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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Additionally, just imagine if being able sue state sponsored terrorism was a thing. I'm sure the Israeli's have fat files on a lot of our so called allies and enemies in the region. Not that it would do much other than possibly shaming them into being hesitant to do it and making them be more honest in their diplomacy.
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Wendell
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Depending on the legal system of the country, if the US was sued and found against in that country, it could allow for the seizure of US government assets and POSSIBLY (there are so many "it depends" here) the assets of US businesses.

Now, before you say something about the US government not having much in assets in other countries, keep in mind that Air Force planes and Navy ships are US government assets... So are the bank accounts of American embassies in foreign countries, used for local operations like paying local bills and locally-hired employees.

Not that I expect anybody to try to seize a friggin' F16 or a carrier. But it could complicate things.
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David Dearlove
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Of course the president would be sued for murder with drones.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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DavidDearlove wrote:
Of course the president would be sued for murder with drones.
Maybe he should, if he wasn't doing it with the blessings of the local governement.
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J
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TheChin! wrote:
Now, from what I gather, this would allows countries to be sued in our courts. That does not mean these countries are bound to do anything about the rulings right?

If the country has assets in the US, then those assets could be seized. The Saudi's have said they plan to liquidize hundreds of billions of assets they hold in the US if this becomes law.
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Andre
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The bill the OP references will unfortunately go nowhere fast. High power politics will not want to piss off our Saudi friends. I think our relationship is less intertwined now than was the day of the attacks, but the death of those people will not win over political expediency.
 
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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jmilum wrote:
If the country has assets in the US, then those assets could be seized. The Saudi's have said they plan to liquidize hundreds of billions of assets they hold in the US if this becomes law.
A tacit admission of guilt?
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Absolutely nuthin' say it again y'all
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J
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TheChin! wrote:
jmilum wrote:
If the country has assets in the US, then those assets could be seized. The Saudi's have said they plan to liquidize hundreds of billions of assets they hold in the US if this becomes law.
A tacit admission of guilt?

I would call it risk avoidance.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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jmilum wrote:
I would call it risk avoidance.
I'm sure that Trump's lawyers told him the same thing when he settled out of his racial bias suit in the 70's.
 
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Isaac Citrom
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Hang on, am I misremembering: Wasn't foreign immunity already curtailed so that Libya could be sued for the Lockerbie bombing?

[Edit] So what if Saudi Arabia liquidates a bunch of assets? Why would that be a bad thing?
.
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Boaty McBoatface
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TheChin! wrote:
In a unrelated thread, the recent topic of suing the Saudi Arabian government for elements of it possibly sponsoring the 9/11 attacks has come up. Surprisingly, I don't think we have a thread yet on this sticky wicket Obama finds himself in. The JASTA bill (https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/204...) looks to ignore sovereign immunity to enable the families of 911 victims and victims themselves to sue Saudi Arabian government entities. Congress passed it, Obama vetoed it, Congress may override. Both Trump and Clinton support the bill, but they can conveniently do that for now for votes.

Now, from what I gather, this would allows countries to be sued in our courts. That does not mean these countries are bound to do anything about the rulings right? I'm not a lawyer and my intent with this thread is to find out what the real consequences might be. Unless we have a treaty with another country that says we will honor the rulings of their court and vice versa, these people will just pissing into the wind so to speak, no?
But your nation can then seize assets of those nations. Until then, yes they will be pissing in the wind. After that you will lose a shed load of allies.

The real issue here is what happens when those nations reciprocate. I can see a lot of very bad political and (I cannot think of another way to put it) social fall out.

Look at what happened to your swimming team in Brazil, and apply it to as little as jay walking.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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jmilum wrote:
TheChin! wrote:
Now, from what I gather, this would allows countries to be sued in our courts. That does not mean these countries are bound to do anything about the rulings right?

If the country has assets in the US, then those assets could be seized. The Saudi's have said they plan to liquidize hundreds of billions of assets they hold in the US if this becomes law.
Which means this could damage the US economy.
 
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Wolf
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There probably is a reason the US never acknowledged the international court in Den Haag.
I have serious doubts about either that happening or this law passing because it would enable a lot of countries (like Venezuela for example) to sue the US.
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Marcel
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The only reason why the US could do this is that they are the biggest bullies on the block. Imagine another country sueing the USA in their own courts and the USA losing so they start seizing American assets anywhere they can. Would the US government and people accept this or not? If the USA would not accept this, why does anyone think other countries should accept this?

I can see it now. Syrian families sue the USA in Syrian court and they win. Now Syria seizes any American assets in their counry to the amount that the court has appointed. Would they even manage to do that or would they be violently and illegally stopped from doing this legal seizure?

Now imagine that the USA government would seize Arabic assets and the Arabs trying to stop the USA government from performing this seizure with violence.

I want to bet that most Americans would say that the violent used by the Americans is the first theoretical case was justified while they would say that violence used by the Arabs in the second theoretical case was not justified.

the fact is that in either case it is equally justified, but the Americans would get away with their violence but the Arabs would not.

It is this power imbalance that gives America the choince. They either choose to be byullies or they choose to be fair. If they would ever allow their courts to sue foreign nations and seize assets, then they would be not playing fair, they would be showing that they are the biggest bully on the block.

At least your president understand that you do not want to blatantly show that you are a big bully. The fact that you congress passed this bill shows that the majority of your congressmen are idiots not fit to make any important decisions for a country.

Sueing countries in court and seizing their assets only serves one purpose in this world and that is to start wars and terrorism. If you have no interest in more wars and terrorism in the world then you will not do this.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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Nodens wrote:
There probably is a reason the US never acknowledged the international court in Den Haag.
I have serious doubts about either that happening or this law passing because it would enable a lot of countries (like Venezuela for example) to sue the US.
The law already passed once, now it has to get a veto override. We'll see if there are enough votes for it to happen.

But, how does passing the law for the U.S. give Venezeula any new claims? Would the US honor anything their courts claim? I would be surprised if we have any appreciable U.S. assets there outside the embassy.
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Boaty McBoatface
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TheChin! wrote:
Nodens wrote:
There probably is a reason the US never acknowledged the international court in Den Haag.
I have serious doubts about either that happening or this law passing because it would enable a lot of countries (like Venezuela for example) to sue the US.
The law already passed once, now it has to get a veto override. We'll see if there are enough votes for it to happen.

But, how does passing the law for the U.S. give Venezeula any new claims? Would the US honor anything their courts claim? I would be surprised if we have any appreciable U.S. assets there outside the embassy.
US businesses do.
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David Dearlove
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TheChin! wrote:
DavidDearlove wrote:
Of course the president would be sued for murder with drones.
Maybe he should, if he wasn't doing it with the blessings of the local governement.

The Pakistani government disagrees. Anyway they can be in the court as well.
 
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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mag74b wrote:
The only reason why the US could do this is that they are the biggest bullies on the block. Imagine another country sueing the USA in their own courts and the USA losing so they start seizing American assets anywhere they can. Would the US government and people accept this or not? If the USA would not accept this, why does anyone think other countries should accept this?
No country has to accept it. No country's judiciary has to be recognized by anyone outside its country, if a local country seizes another nations assets outside of the treaty between them, that is a treaty violation and whatever consequences from that are seperate.

I guess the question then becomes, if Congress passes a law that directly violates a treaty is it legal?
 
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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DavidDearlove wrote:
The Pakistani government disagrees. Anyway they can be in the court as well.
Shouldn't they be in this context?
 
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David Dearlove
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TheChin! wrote:
mag74b wrote:
The only reason why the US could do this is that they are the biggest bullies on the block. Imagine another country sueing the USA in their own courts and the USA losing so they start seizing American assets anywhere they can. Would the US government and people accept this or not? If the USA would not accept this, why does anyone think other countries should accept this?
No country has to accept it. No country's judiciary has to be recognized by anyone outside its country, if a local country seizes another nations assets outside of the treaty between them, that is a treaty violation and whatever consequences from that are seperate.

I guess the question then becomes, if Congress passes a law that directly violates a treaty is it legal?

In case you haven't noticed the US already thinks its domestic law trumps international law and the US government does illegal things in sovereign nations all the time.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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DavidDearlove wrote:
In case you haven't noticed the US already thinks its domestic law trumps international law and the US government does illegal things in sovereign nations all the time.
And for the most part I am just exploring this thing and not making any pronouncements of righteousness, but, from an international POV, should other nations hold us accountable for these illegal activities just as this particular issue wants to hold the Saudi's responsible? I guess what I am getting at, is this really the world we want where all the governments just wink, wink, nudge, nudge each other as they trample each other's citizens?
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J
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isaacc wrote:
Hang on, am I misremembering: Wasn't foreign immunity already curtailed so that Libya could be sued for the Lockerbie bombing?

The existing laws are pretty complicated and have changed overtime, but I think the main exception here is that the country has to be in the list of countries stated to support terrorism. Libya was, Saudi Arabia is not.

[Edit] So what if Saudi Arabia liquidates a bunch of assets? Why would that be a bad thing?[/q]
It would likely lead to the same by other countries and could lead to a reduction in foreign investment.
 
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Daniel Edwards
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This sort of law has the problems already identified but its also fairly pointless. As stated, if passed an affected government can just pull its assets out or just as likely simply restructure their ownership to avoid the law.
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