Saturday, January 22, 2005

Re: When the US Government Backs Iraqi Torturers of American POW's

Well, the cause of action seems obvious enough; these people were heinously tortured and have claims for personal injury, battery, intentional infliction of emotional harm, etc. The question more seems to be against whom the claim is valid and whether sovereign immunity applies. The decision makes some reference to not having Federal Claims, which I don't really understand, but seems to imply that there must be a statutory claim. Is this a subject matter limitation? In the context of claim between a U.S. citizen and a foreign nation, the federal court should have jurisdiction regardless of the nature of the claim, I think. The statutes referenced in the case waive sovereign immunity for these sorts of claims against nations on some government list of terrorist sponsors, which I imagine Iraq was on. It's not clear to me, nor was it, I think, clear to Prof. Moore, what exactly the court's objection is. Moreover, Moore was rather incensed that the court killed his case on an issue, which not only didn't make a lot of sense, but had been not raised by any party in either the original trial or the appeal, and based on a ruling they had made in a case that occurred after his original trial and as such was never disputed in that trial. The court suggests that he should have noted this decision prior to appearing for oral arguments and been better prepared to rebut it, and perhaps he made a mistake there. However, I still can't see a whole lot of sense in their ruling. Maybe you can add some clarification?

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