Thursday, September 29, 2016

Overriding Obama Veto: It can be done, and has been done

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution grants the authority to Congress the ability to override a presidential veto, should the Congress muster a 2/3 vote from both Houses to do so.  The first time it actually happened was during the presidency of Democrat President Andrew Johnson, who vetoed bills during the reconstruction period he believed to be too harsh against the former Confederate States.  Once again, a Democrat President's veto has been overridden by Congress.  Congress overwhelmingly rejected President Obama’s veto of The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, bill letting families of September 11 victims sue the Saudi Arabian government.  The legislation gives victims' families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks. Fifteen of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

The bill garnered both Republican and Democrat Party support in both Houses of Congress.

The vote was lopsided, to say the least.  The House of Representatives during the veto override vote approved it 348-77, following a 97-1 vote hours earlier in the U.S. Senate.

The Obama administration, in an attempt to coddle his Muslim buddies in Saudi Arabia, warned that the legislation could hurt national security, calling it “badly misguided.”  Obama vetoed the measure last week.  President Obama stated that he believed the bill would make the U.S. vulnerable to retaliatory litigation in foreign courts that could put U.S. troops in legal jeopardy.  I am sure his Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist advisers helped the White House is crafting the response.  In a letter to Senate leaders, Obama warned the bill could cause chaos in U.S. foreign affairs, as other countries would use the measure to justify the creation of ways to target "U.S. policies and activities that they oppose."

"As a result, our nation and its armed forces, State Department, intelligence officials and others may find themselves subject to lawsuits in foreign courts." Obama wrote in a letter delivered a day prior to Wednesday's vote to override his veto.

Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas called Obama's concerns "unpersuasive."  "This bill is about respecting the voices and rights of American victims," he said.  JASTA is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism that occur on U.S. soil.

The lone "no" vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate was by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat from Nevada.

The Democrats who supported the override may have been considering the popularity of the bill with the American People, and the fact that the elections are just over a month away, when deciding whether to support or oppose the measure.

The Act enables U.S. Courts to waive a claim of foreign sovereign immunity when an act of terrorism occurs inside U.S. borders.  

For anyone who may want to use the 11th Amendment as an excuse to call the piece of legislation unconstitutional, the amendment in question prohibits the federal courts from taking cases "commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State."  In other words, the constitutional prohibition is from the other direction.  U.S. Courts could not hear, for example, a case in which a country like Saudi Arabia sued one of the States. . . like, say, New York.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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