WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Senator Chuck Grassley reported several bills to improve data sharing agreements with other nations, protect intellectual property and hold accountable sponsors of terrorism. The Committee also reported three judicial nominations to the full Senate for further consideration.
"This week’s agenda showed the broad jurisdiction that the Judiciary Committee has and the range of issues that we work on. It was good to see the committee members show support for these bills and made it easier for me to decide to move them through the committee," Grassley said.
Judicial Redress Act
The Judicial Redress Act is a key component of an important data sharing agreement with the European Union that will preserve and expand the ability of the United States and EU members to share critical law enforcement information. The bill provides citizens of certain foreign countries the right to seek redress for certain privacy rights in American courts, in the same way that Americans can in many European countries. The bill included an amendment by Senator John Cornyn that ensures that these rights are not extended to citizens of countries that either do not permit commercial data sharing with companies in the United States or that impede the national security interests of the United States.
The bill passed by a vote of 19-1 with Grassley’s support.
Defend Trade Secrets Act
The Defend Trade Secrets Act establishes a federal civil remedy for trade secret theft that will result in uniform national litigation standards for trade secret theft cases. Trade secrets are an increasingly important aspect of intellectual property, but our patchwork of state laws often provides little reprieve for victims of trade secret misappropriation when the thieves are able to quickly travel across state lines and utilize emerging technology. The bill passed today by voice vote allows victims to quickly move a case to federal court without preempting state laws. It will also help to spur future innovation by protecting this valuable form of intellectual property.
The bill included an amendment offered by Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy clarifying that individuals cannot be held liable for trade secret theft when reporting suspected violations of the law. The amendment also allows trade secret information to be used in anti-retaliation lawsuits.
Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act
The bipartisan Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act holds accountable sponsors of terrorism by preventing them from invoking “sovereign immunity” in cases involving attacks within the United States. It also allows civil suits to be filed against foreign entities that have aided or abetted terrorists who conduct such attacks.
In the absence of this legislation, courts have blocked such terrorism-related claims that Congress intended to permit. This bill clarifies congressional intent to allow cases against foreign entities that raise money for, fund or otherwise assist terrorism operations carried out on American soil. Grassley is an original cosponsor of the bill, which was reported out of committee by a vote of 19-0.
Three judicial nominees, Mary S. McElroy to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Rhode Island, Susan Paradise Baxter to be a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Marilyn Jean Horan to be a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, were also reported to the full Senate by voice vote.