Cornell Law School Logo - white on transparent background

Vol. 103, Issue 5


“Mob-Legislating”: JASTA’s Addition to the Terrorism Exception to Foreign Sovereign Immunity

Rachel E. Hancock

28 Jul 2020

This Note explores the issues with the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that JASTA attempts to address, the likelihood of JASTA’s success, and whether or not JASTA is a desirable solution. Though the relatively recent nature of this addition renders the long-term impact difficult to assess, an examination of foreign sovereign immunity doctrine’s origins, evolution, and purpose provides sufficient information to make predictions about potential problems with JASTA. Part I briefly tracks the history of foreign sovereign immunity in the United States and the transition from an absolutist approach to a restricted approach. Part I also discusses the codification of the restricted approach to foreign sovereign immunity and its potential shortcomings. Part II discusses the original terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976, its origins, early uses, shortcomings, and amendments. Then, Part III explores the political background that gave rise to JASTA and raises concerns about the implications of such sweeping legislation.

To read more of “Mob-Legislating”, click here.