Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Corrie v. Caterpillar: Political Question

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of CCR’s case charging Caterpillar, Inc. with aiding and abetting war crimes and other serious human rights violations on the grounds that the company provided bulldozers to Israel knowing they would be used unlawfully to demolish homes and endanger civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

[The] decision from a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals found that it did not have jurisdiction to decide the case because Caterpillar’s bulldozers were ultimately paid for with money from the United States. Because of the U.S. government’s decision to grant military assistance to Israel, any decision regarding whether Caterpillar aided and abetted war crimes would impermissibly intrude upon the executive branch’s foreign policy decisions. In today’s decision, the Court did not rule on the question of whether Caterpillar aided and abetted Israeli war crimes.

“We are extremely disappointed with the Court’s refusal to decide whether Caterpillar violated the law, essentially because it did not want to question the U.S. decision to pay for the bulldozers,” said CCR Senior Attorney Maria LaHood. “The Court has a constitutional duty to uphold the law, and the law prohibits aiding and abetting war crimes - regardless of who’s footing the bill.”

(With respect to the concern of whether or not I will ever need to know the workings of the "political question" doctrine, the answer appears to be "YES!")

And the injustice continues . . .

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