Who can ever get used to this? Today, a plane blown out of the sky. More indiscriminate, pointless murder. Of course, I am angry. It seems that for the most part, these bastards get away with murder. Oh sure, some of them blow themselves up but that’s what they want after all, no?
What’s a lawyer to do? Suits involving international terrorism or political violence are not straightforward. In this context, sovereign immunity, personal jurisdiction, the political question and act of state doctrines, the doctrine of forum non conveniens, and the Executive Branch’s prerogative to seize and control assets, all conspire to complicate life for even the most deserving of victims and their families. United States law, though, increasingly provides a forum for terrorist victims. Over the past thirty years, this country has become a leader in providing a judicial forum for private rights of action against foreign terror groups and the regimes that support them. The problem often lies in locating and attaching terrorist assets. A judgment from a United States court holding a certain person or organization accountable for terrorist acts has symbolic value, and can serve as a judicially imposed sanction which may be enforced wherever those assets hide. Until those hidden assets can be located though, the mere symbol of a judgment seems like an empty remedy while the blood of innocent people continues to boil.