Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Flying imams' lawsuit against citizens stymied by House

More specifically, stymied by a House Republican. From the Washington Times:
House Republicans tonight surprised Democrats with a procedural vote to protect public-transportation passengers from being sued if they report suspicious activity -- the first step by lawmakers to protect "John Doe" airline travelers already targeted in such a lawsuit.

After a heated debate and calls for order, the motion to recommit the Democrats' Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 back to committee with instructions to add the protective language passed on a vote of 304-121.

Republicans said the lawsuit filed by six Muslim imams against US Airways and "John Does," passengers who reported suspicious behavior, could have a "chilling effect" on passengers who may fear being sued for acting vigilant.

Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, offered the motion saying all Americans -- airline passengers included -- must be protected from lawsuits if they report suspicious behavior that may foreshadow a terrorist attack.

"All of our lives changed after September 11, and one of the most important things we have done is ask local citizens to do what they can to avoid another terrorist attack, if you see something, say something," said Mr. King.

"We have to stand by our people and report suspicious activity," he said. "I cannot imagine anyone would be opposed to this."

Mr. King called it a "disgrace" that the suit seeks to identify "people who acted out of good faith and reported what they thought was suspicious activity."

The vote was 304-121. What a shocker: all 121 "allow private citizens to be sued for reporting suspicious activity" votes came from Democrats, trial lawyers' (and terrorists') best friends. Harsh characterization? You tell me:
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, opposed the motion over loud objections from colleagues on the House floor, forcing several calls to order from the chair.

"Absolutely they should have the ability to seek redress in a court of law," said Mr. Thompson, who suggested that protecting passengers from a lawsuit would encourage racial profiling.

Glad to see the race-hustling poverty pimps have their priorities straight. Muslims behaving suspiciously? Pffft! We should be more focused on not offending anyone's ethnic sensibilities! I mean, if the plane blows up, at least the bigger travesty of political incorrectness would be avoided, n'est-ce pas?

Plus, you know it's the right thing to do when CAIR objects:
Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in an open letter yesterday to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty that "the only individuals against whom suit may be raised in this litigation are those who may have knowingly made false reports against the imams with the intent to discriminate against them."

The Becket Fund criticized the lawsuit last week and in a letter to Mr. Awad asked that the "John Does" be removed from the lawsuit, however CAIR is standing by the decision.

Kudos to Congress for getting something right, for once. Shame on the Democrats who sided with the imams and trial lawyers over normal Americans!

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