Palestinian Supporters File Appeal in Biden Case, Arguing Federal Court Has Constitutional Responsibility to Review Claims

By Rena Abdusalam 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Palestinians, Palestinian-Americans and pro-Palestinian human rights organizations have recently filed an appeal regarding their case against President Joe Biden, declaring the federal court has a constitutional responsibility to hear their claims of U.S officials failing to prevent, and being complicit in, Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

“A lower court found a plausible case of genocide and urged the Biden administration to reexamine its ‘unflagging support’ for Israel’s assault but said it was powerless to review ‘foreign policy’ decisions, dismissing the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds,” reported the Center for Constitutional Rights, a non-profit legal advocacy organization.

“In dismissing the case, Judge Jeffrey S. White relied on the political question doctrine, which has often been interpreted to put discretionary policies of the executive branch outside the purview of the courts,” added the organization.

Center for Constitutional Rights co-counsel Van Der Hout LLP declared “aiding and abetting genocide can never be a policy decision.”

The brief also comments the Constitution requires the federal judiciary to uphold the law, which includes the Genocide Convention, and this obligation takes on “an urgent, even existential dimension when the legal violation at issue is facilitating and even accelerating the destruction of an entire people.”

“With each passing week, Israel’s onslaught on Gaza claims the lives of more of my family members while the rest are struggling to survive, enduring deliberate starvation, and fearing for their lives and wondering what future remains to go back to,” said Laila Elhaddad, a plaintiff in the case.

“And it is happening with the Biden administration’s complicity and financial, diplomatic and military cover. The time to act, and to hold this administration accountable for failing to prevent what the courts have called a plausible genocide, is now. There should be no discretion in the matter,” continued Elhaddad.

“With Gaza on the brink of famine, children are dying of dehydration and malnutrition, adding to a death toll that has already surpassed 30,000. That number is expected to rise sharply once Israel begins its ground assault on Rafah, where more than a million people have taken refuge after being forced to evacuate from other areas in Gaza,” reported the organizations.

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Biden administration continues to send weapons to Israel and wielded its third veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire even with international outrage growing.

March 7 “marked five months since Israel began its genocidal campaign,” the organization argued, adding, “On this anniversary, Biden announced that the U.S. military will construct a temporary port in Gaza in the hopes of securing future deliveries of humanitarian aid at the same time as reports revealed 600 active cases of potential weapons transfers to Israel, worth more than $23 billion.”

“Defendants Biden, Blinken, and Austin, have chosen to disregard numerous warnings by international experts, and even two court rulings – a federal court in the U.S. and the International Court of Justice – that Israel is plausibly committing a genocide,” said Pam Spees, a senior staff attorney at the organization.

“Despite all of these warnings, and despite the horrors unfolding for the world to see, they have continued to rush weapons and diplomatic assistance to Israel as it carries out this genocidal assault,” continued Spees.

“Our courts must not shy away from their duty to ensure that even our highest officials are answerable to the law – not least a law intended to prevent the killing and destruction of an entire people,” ended Spees.

Filed in November in the Northern U.S. District of California, the lawsuit asked the court to encourage defendants President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Austin from providing support to further the genocide that is violating domestic and international law.

According to the organization, “(leading) genocide and Holocaust scholars and former State Department official Josh Paul submitted declarations in support of the lawsuit. While dismissing the lawsuit, the district court judge largely endorsed the factual case made by the plaintiffs in their 85-page complaint and through live testimony, which he called ‘uncontroverted.’”

“Over the course of a four-hour hearing on Jan. 26, plaintiffs testified to the killing and displacement of their family members since Oct. 7 and situated Israel’s assault on Gaza within its historic subjugation of Palestinians,” added the organization.

“The judge’s finding echoed the ruling by the International Court of Justice that came out the day of the hearing that also found a plausible case of genocide by Israel and ordered a set of provisional measures, including ordering Israel to stop its genocidal acts and ensure access to humanitarian assistance,” the group charged.

Additionally, the organizations commented, “South Africa renewed its request to the ICJ for additional provisional measures in light of accelerating starvation” the day before the appeal was filed in the U.S case.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear the oral argument in June.

About The Author

Rena is a junior at Davis Senior High School and is currently exploring her interest in the criminal justice system. After high school, she plans to attend college and continue to pursue a career in law.

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