Skip to main content

View Diary: What's new in BBC report on Nixon's treason on Vietnam? Not much (120 comments)

Comment Preferences

    •  That quote refers to the principle of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiot, leeleedee, Egalitare

      "sovereign immunity," which was in effect until 1947, after Nixon had entered public life. The Federal Tort Claims Act was motivated by fraud and extortion during the War and made individuals personally liable for their official acts if they proved injurious or negligent. They can even be held to account for arbitrary and capricious decisions. "Sovereign Imumunity" was a hold-over from the British legal system which sort of got overlooked. The Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 repealed the principle on behalf of foreigners who had a beef with U.S. public officials.
      Immunity is tenacious. The law enforcement community is holding on for dear life the "qualified immunity" and prosecutors continue to enjoy "absolute immunity" in their decisions to prosecute a crime or not. Immunity is the key to official power. Without it, public officials have to respond to claims that their behavior is unjust.
      Perhaps the obvious injustice of our rule of law can be traced to the absolute powers of prosecutors. Judges', their nominal superiors, decisions can be appealed and judges can be removed for malfeasance. Not only is there no appeal from a prosecutor's ruling, most damage to equity arises from their not doing what should be done. How does one challenge what hasn't been done?
      How could Nixon be challenged for not making peace?

      Not doing is the hallmark of the Party of No.

      Not doing is not a crime, unless one considers that an oath to perform the duties and obligations of an office sets up a charge of dereliction of duty when the duties are not carried out.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 12:01:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sovereign immunity still exists in the US (0+ / 0-)

        It was waived somewhat by the FTCA, and the Tucker Act, but the basic principle that the federal government can be sued only when it says it can be is still very much in force in the U.S.

        In the United States, the federal government has sovereign immunity and may not be sued unless it has waived its immunity or consented to suit. See Gray v. Bell, 712 F.2d 490, 507 (D.C. Cir. 1983). The United States has waived sovereign immunity to a limited extent, mainly through the Federal Tort Claims Act, which waives the immunity if a tortious act of a federal employee causes damage, and the Tucker Act, which waives the immunity over claims arising out of contracts to which the federal government is a party. The Federal Tort Claims Act and the Tucker Act are not as broad waivers of sovereign immunity as they might appear, as there are a number of statutory exceptions and judicially fashioned limiting doctrines applicable to both. Title 28 U.S.C. § 1331 confers federal question jurisdiction on district courts, but this statute has been held not to be a blanket waiver of sovereign immunity on the part of the federal government.

        Congress has also waived sovereign immunity for patent infringement claims under 28 USC § 1498(a), but that statute balances this waiver with provisions that limit the remedies available to the patent holder. The government may not be enjoined from infringing a patent, and persons performing work for the government are immune both from liability and from injunction. Any recourse must be had only against the government in the United States Court of Federal Claims. In Advanced Software Design v. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Federal Circuit expanded the interpretation of this protection to extend to private companies doing work not as contractors, but in which the government participates even indirectly.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (153)
  • Community (68)
  • Elections (34)
  • Media (33)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (31)
  • Law (30)
  • Environment (30)
  • Civil Rights (29)
  • Culture (29)
  • 2016 (29)
  • Science (25)
  • Barack Obama (25)
  • Hillary Clinton (24)
  • Labor (23)
  • Republicans (23)
  • Climate Change (23)
  • Economy (21)
  • Josh Duggar (19)
  • Marriage Equality (19)
  • Jeb Bush (18)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site