Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Don’t delegate foreign and counter-terror policy to trial lawyers

The Washington Post’s editorialists agree with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and former attorney general Michael Mukasey: President Obama is right to plan a veto of a bill passed in the House by a voice vote enabling lawsuits by victims of terror attacks against sovereign countries such as Saudi Arabia over conduct that allegedly contributed to the attacks. Delegating foreign and counter-terror policy to trial lawyers not only wrenches away delicate questions of negotiation and sanctions-imposition from the executive branch to which our Constitutional scheme confides them, but also invites foreign legal systems to begin opening up avenues for lawsuits against the government of the United States. There’s a reason comity and sovereign immunity have stood for centuries as pillars of international law. News coverage: Karoun Demirjian, Washington Post and more.

Saudis: We might sell off $750 billion in US assets if opened to 9/11 suits

I take a dim view of the doings of the Riyadh regime, but it’s bonkers to let US-Saudi relations stand or fall on the skill of random trial lawyers. A bill under consideration in Congress would bring such a day closer by stripping sovereign immunity protection from foreign countries in suits alleging responsibility for terror attacks on U.S. soil. It is the executive branch exercising its foreign relations powers that should have the final word on such responsibility; the U.S. State Department opposes the legislation. [Tim Worstall, Forbes]

December 16 roundup

  • Judge Jed Rakoff reviews new book by Columbia lawprof John Coffee on future of class actions [New York Review of Books]
  • About that “vaping could cause popcorn lung” scare: “All conventional [cigarette smoke] contains… levels of diacetyl… a lot higher than those produced by e-cigarettes.” [Michael Siegel]
  • A peek inside Kinder Surprise eggs, global candy favorite that cannot lawfully be brought into the U.S. [Business Insider, earlier]
  • Man’s suit against New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as “too white” raises eyebrows [New York Post, ArtNet]
  • Courageous: in Saudi Arabia, lawyer Waleed Abulkhair, who has represented blogger Raif Badawi, imprisoned for doing his job [Scott Greenfield]
  • Lawyer’s advice: bosses face legal risk if they let their employees join in #ElderlyChristmasSongs Twitter levity [Jon Hyman]
  • Current food labeling standards “provide a big nudge for people to eat less saturated fats and more carbohydrates,” contrary to what many doctors now advise [Ike Brannon, Cato]

Saudi Arabia plans to sue Twitter user who called it #ISISlike

Watch what you say about Saudi Arabia:

According to a report in pro-government newspaper Al Riyadh, the Saudi justice ministry is planning to sue a Twitter user who suggested that a death sentence recently handed out to a Palestinian artist for apostasy was “ISIS-like.”

…The ministry would not hesitate to sue “any media that slandered the religious judiciary of the Kingdom,” the source added.

The Washington Post adds that “the comparison to the Islamic State appears to be a particular bone of contention for the Saudi kingdom.” A Saudi spokesman explained to NBC News recently that the country’s beheadings and hand-choppings for religiously-based and other offenses differed from Islamic State’s because “the country’s Shariah-based legal system ensures fairness. ‘ISIS has no legitimate way to decide to decide to kill people’.” The target of the contemplated Twitter suit was not named, and it was not immediately apparent whether that person is a Saudi subject. [Washington Post, Reuters] The hashtag #ISISlike was spreading rapidly on Twitter last night.

Free speech roundup

  • Chicago-area bus company keeps menacing customer-critics with lawsuits [Coyote]
  • Some government officials want a say in who owns newspapers [Ira Stoll on Hartford Courant/Koch story] Using public apparatus to squelch political adversaries not exactly something new in America [David Beito on New Deal episodes]
  • Barbarity: “Saudi Court Condemns Editor to 600 Lashes With Breaks” [Bloomberg (“insulting Islam”), Volokh]
  • Scheme backed by many state AGs to roll back websites’ immunity for content posted by visitors “could singlehandedly cripple free speech online” [ACLU, earlier]
  • Attention enemies of Ken at Popehat: even if you can find your bus pass you’ll still need to withstand his cat squirt bottle [Popehat; another speech case there (censorious bell can’t be unrung) and yet another (bogus DMCA notice)]
  • State law providing that persons with erased records are “deemed never to have been arrested” never meant to muzzle discussion of arrests [Eugene Volokh]
  • Nova Scotia: “cyberbullying legislation allows victims to sue” [CBC]

Long-arm blasphemy prosecution

Islamists are demanding the execution of Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari over tweets, since retracted, that they say are blasphemous toward their religion. Malaysia has detained Kashgari and may extradite him to face the charges; according to reports, the international police organization had put out an order for his arrest at the behest of the Saudi government [Guardian, Nina Shea/NRO, Daily Beast, Reason, Facebook support page, blog, #FreeHamza]


December 31 roundup

  • “No refusal” DUI checkpoints spread and can result in mandatory blood tests for drivers; MADD cheers infringement of liberty [WTSP]
  • Teleworking regulations: a new way to sue your (federal) boss? [welcome Mickey Kaus/Newsweek readers]
  • “The federal government has been in the business of micro-managing our kids’ lunches for 30 years” [David Gratzer/Examiner] St. Paul, Minn. schools ban sweets, even when brought from home [Star-Tribune] Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, and the Happy Meal lawsuit [John Steele Gordon, Commentary]
  • Top ten insurance law decisions of 2010 [Randy Maniloff, Insurance Journal; also congrats on his new book (with Jeffrey Stempel)]
  • “Mitch Daniels and Criminal Sentencing Reform in Indiana” [Orin Kerr] Daniels isn’t backing down from call for truce on social issues [GOP12]
  • Happy 100th birthday, Ronald Coase [Gillespie, Reason]
  • Damage to Gulf from spill now looks much less than feared [Robert Nelson, Weekly Standard]
  • Saudi court decides that text message is valid method of divorce [Emirates 24/7]