Justice sought in Beirut blast

Marine Corps Times

WHAT'S UP: Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., has introduced what he is calling the Justice for Marine Corps Families Act, although it affects other services, as well. His bill would allow families of the 241 service members - 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers - killed in the 1983 bombing of a barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, to collect damages in private lawsuits from foreign governments that harbor terrorists. This would be done, in part, by allowing them to attach hidden assets.

WHAT'S NEXT: Families have been trying to collect on court-ordered damages but have been thwarted because federal appeals courts have held that private citizens have no right to sue foreign governments. Specter's bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., would specifically allow such suits. Chances of passage are good, because Specter is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is where the bill has been referred.