Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Bill To Strengthen 9/11 Victims Law

Jul 3, 2023

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her support for the Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, bipartisan legislation that would close loopholes in the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The bill would make technical corrections to JASTA that would enable families of victims of terrorism to sue foreign state actors for aiding and abetting terrorism.

“9/11 was one of the darkest days in U.S. history and it is essential that the victims’ families can seek justice against those who enabled these horrific attacks,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The bipartisan Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act will make important changes to existing law to ensure the families of U.S. victims of terrorism can bring legal action against foreign sponsors of terrorism. I am grateful this bill has strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and I will work with my colleagues to get it swiftly passed and signed into law.”

The Ensuring Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act makes technical corrections to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that would:

  1. Clarify that injured plaintiffs can sue foreign state defendants for aiding and abetting terrorism and ensure that liability may be asserted as to any person or entity that aids or abets terrorism;
  2. Ensure that plaintiffs, if they obtain a judgment on a JASTA claim, can collect their judgment; and
  3. Clarify that all U.S. citizens injured in their person, business, or property may recover under JASTA.

The bill is led by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). In addition to Senator Gillibrand, this bill is cosponsored by Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), and Ed Markey (D-MA).

JASTA was enacted by Congress in 2016. The bill amended the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act so that foreign sponsors of terrorism cannot invoke “sovereign immunity” in cases arising from a terrorist attack that kills an American on American soil. JASTA also amended the Anti-Terrorism Act so that civil suits against foreign sponsors of terrorism can be heard in U.S. courts when their conduct contributes to an attack that kills an American.