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Congress overrides Presidential veto on September 11 victims' families 29 MARK COLVIN: Presidential vetos don't happen every day in American politics.

It's rarer still, though, for the Congress to override a presidential veto on the occasions when they do happen. But that's what's occurred in the case of a bill to let the families of people killed in the terrorist attacks of September the 11th, 2001 sue Saudi Arabia. Professor Simon Jackman is chief executive officer of the United States Studies Centre at Sydney University. I asked him to explain the veto system: SIMON JACKMAN: pandora charms shop Vetos are rare in shop pandora online the American system. The President is the actor of last resort in the legislative process and if the President chooses to not sign a bill, it won't become law. And then the Congress has one more card to play: and that's the veto override. And that requires a two thirds vote in both chambers to override the President's veto. And they happen: roughly only about 10 per cent, historically, of presidents' vetos go on to be overridden. So once the President typically says "no" to something, that's often the end of it, except occasionally. And this is cheap pandora the first time it's happened to Obama: that Congress has come back and mustered up those two thirds majorities in both houses. MARK COLVIN: And not just two thirds? SIMON JACKMAN: Well, no. The US Senate was almost unanimous, save for Harry Reid, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate staying with his President. But 99 1 in the US Senate is really telling. MARK COLVIN: So why is this such a passionate issue? SIMON JACKMAN: 9/11 continues 15 years later: plays such an outsized role in the American popular consciousness. And to be this close to a general election, to say that 9/11 families don't have the right to sue, would be a very brave political call one the President can make, of course he's not up for re election but one that, I think, members of the House and as we saw, members of the Senate even those not up for election. Only one third of the Senate is up this November. But 99 1 in pandora jewelry online shop the Senate: I just think it speaks to the power of this issue in the American popular consciousness. MARK COLVIN: How strong is the case of the people who do want to sue? Is this one of those cases where a conspiracy theory actually does have some reality behind it? SIMON JACKMAN: I think there may be something to that. There's certainly enough sort of around there in the blogosphere on what the Saudis were up to ahead of 9/11; what America knew the Saudi's were up to before 9/11. MARK COLVIN: It's very interesting that the Saudis in the last couple of months have been coming out and saying, "Yes, well, we did encourage extreme fundamentalist, Wahhabist Islam." They haven't said, "Yes, we were behind 9/11" or anything like that. But they have taken some responsibility for that, while saying, "We're going to do better in future." So it's really interesting timing, isn't it? SIMON JACKMAN: That's right. But it's not at all clear who you would sue in US court, or how you would ever get them to court. And on the other hand, the US Government has put in: you know, there are provisions there. There's been a lot of financial assistance for 9/11 families. This is about the symbolism of it, more than anything, I think. And I think it's a very difficult set of symbols to get in the way of if you're an American politician at the moment. MARK COLVIN: So it is all about suing in American courts? SIMON JACKMAN: That's right. MARK COLVIN: So you could, for instance perhaps, try and put a block on people's bank accounts? SIMON JACKMAN: Right.

And that would be the sort of remedies one presumes would lie at the end of the road here. You filed suit, you prevailed. It's a civil matter and the sort of remedies that might be available to you are forfeiture of assets: Saudi held assets somewhere.


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