April 6, 2011, - 7:32 pm

Bush Judge Makes Dead Soldier’s Family Prove Why Sharia Shouldn’t Apply in Suit

By Debbie Schlussel

When people told me they had to vote for George W. Bush because of the judges he would appoint, I always cited the many judges he appointed who are liberal, favored more rights for Islamic terrorists, and the like. Now, we have yet another such Bush judge, Nora Barry Fischer (already suspicious for insisting on using three names, including her maiden name). Fischer is considering applying Sharia to a court case involving the rights of an American soldier killed in Iraq, and forcing the soldier’s family’s lawyers to spend time, money, and resources proving why the Sharia-dominated Iraqi law and constitution should not be applied in an American court.  It’s an outrage.


Bush Judge Nora Barry Fischer Makes Dead Soldier’s Family Prove Why Sharia Shouldn’t Be Applied

Please tell me how a John Kerry or Al Gore judge would be different or worse. There’s no difference. (I voted Bush the first time, Libertarian the second time, for the record, because I vowed never again to vote for such an Islamopanderer.)

American soldiers harmed by American companies should have their lawsuits decided under American law, the very law they are serving to protect.  The only exception to this should be when a soldier willingly gives up that right in writing of his own volition.  Unfortunately, this lawsuit by the family of American soldier who died of electrocution while serving in Iraq might be decided under Iraqi Muslim law, where sharia and the Koran reign supreme, if American company KBR has its way.  That an American judge is even considering this is a travesty.  But, yes, Bush Judge Fischer is considering it.

Recently, many misinformed people were up in arms about a Florida judge ordering that Islamic law decide arbitration in a case involving a mosque versus its members.  I did not have a problem with that because in that case the mosque members and the mosque had actually agreed to submit to religious arbitration, then the mosque opposed it when it realized Islamic law was not on its side.  When a mosque that preaches sharia is opposed to using sharia against it, it’s not what the ignorant, so-called anti-jihadist bloggers are squawking about.  But in this case, it’s different.

The family of the late Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth–and the dead soldier himself–never gave up their rights under the U.S. Constitution.  They never willingly submitted to the Koran in the name of taking a shower operated by KBR in Iraq.  This is the company that used to be part of Halliburton.  It benefited greatly from American taxpayers and the soldiers who protect them, making billions of dollars.  That KBR would even suggest using Iraqi law instead of U.S. law in this case is an outrage. Unfortunately, as I’ve noted in previous posts over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court, more and more, subverts U.S. sovereignty and cites foreign laws as authority for American jurisprudence, including in cases where it decided against the death penalty for juvenile murderers and rapists.

And, as I’ve noted in the past, KBR was the slimy offshoot that Halliburton used to use to avoid U.S. laws, while Dick Cheney ran Halliburton. KBR traded with Iraq, while we had the embargo against Saddam Hussein, and it violated the embargo with Libya, building Qaddafy giant steel enclosed cross country tunnels to shield troop and nuclear transports from American spy satellites. Now, the sleaziness continues, even though the company is now U.S.-based and was at all times applicable to this case. More:

Attorneys for Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. have asked a federal judge in Pittsburgh to apply Iraqi law to a lawsuit filed by the mother of a Pittsburgh-area soldier who was electrocuted while showering at a U.S. military base in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Nora Berry Fischer asked attorneys for both sides to file written arguments before she’ll decide the issue.

At a hearing Tuesday, she frankly acknowledged what she believed was the reason for the motion. “The big nut is whether or not you can apply for punitive damages,” the judge said. “You can’t get punitives in Iraq.”

The lawsuit contends KBR is responsible for Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth’s death because it maintained the barracks where the Army determined a water pump shorted out and electrified his shower water in January 2008.

KBR attorneys have argued that three military investigations have determined no one agency or company is to blame for the Maseth’s death, which spawned a military review of 17 other electrocution deaths in Iraq and prompted electrical repair work at military facilities, much of it by KBR.

Hey, if at first you don’t succeed in passing the buck for the unnecessary death of an American soldier, seek the Koran for guidance!

Cheryl Harris, the mother of the 24-year-old Green Beret, and her attorney said they believe KBR is trying to delay the lawsuit and evade responsibility.

“My emotional response is just the frustration of being here for three years, of the length of time it takes, and the stalling tactics that KBR continues to take,” she said at the hearing.

She said American soldiers deserve to be protected by American laws and safety standards, even in foreign lands.

“It’s quite sad that KBR would think otherwise,” she said. “That they would be paid billions of dollars and not be expected to protect U.S. soldiers.”

AMEN. And that’s in addition to the fact that a U.S. military base is essentially U.S. land with U.S. laws applied there. Are we going to impose Cuban law in Guantanamo Bay? Hell no.

Fischer must decide whether to apply Iraqi law to the case or to judge it based on laws in Pennsylvania; Tennessee, where Maseth’s unit was based; or Texas, where KBR is headquartered.

Fischer is expected to rule within about two months.

Like I said, this shouldn’t even be under consideration. Any federal judge with half a brain would laugh at anyone trying to impose Iraqi law in such a case. Completely absurd. And it has the potential for a very bad precedent, if she does impose Iraqi law and it’s not ultimately reversed on appeal.

If American soldiers and their families can’t expect their disputes to be adjudicated under American law when it involves American defendants and American military bases, then what the heck are they fighting for, and why are they wearing the letters “U.S.” and an American flag on their uniforms?

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33 Responses

Judge Nora Barry needs to be impeached immediately.

Truth on April 6, 2011 at 8:04 pm

It feels like bizarro world Debbie. Too much is backward. I’m former Navy and I see uniforms on TV and noticed that the US Flag patches on the BDU’s have the Jack on the right side when it is supposed to be on the left(when facing it). As far as I was taught, that is an improper display of the flag. So, this case may not surprize me but it does disgust me.

Mark on April 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Dear Debbie:

Like I always say (and I’d appreciate your quoting me should you use the phrase): IT’S ALWAYS THE STINKIN’ MONEY!

KBR is trying to avoid paying out damages. That’s all they’re interested in.

I AGREE with you that it is shameful that KBR is trying to avoid being judged by the American legal system. They have been a huge beneficiary of expedited single-source (aka “no bid”) contracts from the defense department since 9/11/01.

I don’t know all the legal issues involved, but it seems to me that an American military base built to American construction codes and standards should be subject to American law when violations of those standards result in physical harm to American soldiers.

American soldiers take on a lot of risk in their task. There are some hazards of war that cannot be litigated. It seems to me that taking a shower on an American military base is not one of them. This is especially true when the U.S. Dept. of Defense, contracts American engineering and construction firms to design and build military bases to American standards of design and construction. For a company benefiting from American taxpayer burden, claiming otherwise is outrageous.

I fully sympathize with your thesis. No American judge in their right mind should defer American law to a foreign legal standard. If an American court were to say that American law doesn’t apply, they should dismiss the case completely. An American court of appeals can determine whether American law applies. Applying foreign laws in an American court is obscene. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems quite unconstitutional to me.

Unlike you, I did not vote for George W. Bush for President. I knew from the very beginning that he was subservient to the Royal House of Saud. For all of John Kerry’s shortcomings, I’m not so sure he was quite so subservient. I would also add that John Kerry’s energy policy proposal was one of the better ones in recent memory. That being said, there’s no telling whether he would have followed through with his proposals. As I often point out, campaign promises are not contractually binding.

America has the best government Saudi petro-dollars can buy. Evry time I visit this site, I’m reminded of that.


There is No Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

There is NO Santa Claus on April 6, 2011 at 9:08 pm

This is DISGUSTING!!! The judge should laugh KBR out of her courtroom and assign TRIPLE punitive damages against them for even suggesting such a thing! The fact that there have been multiple deaths of servicemen by electrocution because of faulty wiring/plumbing in AMERICAN installations makes this even more critical. These are AMERICAN servicemen on an AMERICAN base filing suit against an AMERICAN company for shoddy work done by AMERICAN contractors (or at least by Iraqis supervised by AMERICANS. The lawsuit was filed in an AMERICAN court. So explain to me again why an AMERICAN judge would even consider Sharia law???

And BTW, Debbie, I think if you had the opportunity to ask Dick Cheney, he would agree with you about this.

DG in GA on April 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I agree with the first poster that post, this judge should be impeached for wanting sharia theocracy to a court. Sharia law or any type of religious law from any religion should NOT be in law of this country, where all fine with US law, ie, the US constitution & Bill of Rights!

Debbie, I understand where you came from when Bush was up for re-election in 2004, you decided to vote for a third-party candidate. But under his second term, he was a little worst then his first term, yes the size of government increased under Bush then it did under Clinton for 8 straight years of his regime, and the samething can be said right now for Obama.

“A nation is defined by it’s borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on April 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm

KBR was also in the news a few years ago for allegedly overcharging the Government on various purchases of goods and services.

Little Al on April 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

The reason I don’t support the Death Penalty in practice, Debbie, is that with the exception of you and a few others, I have almost never met a judge or attorney whom I would trust the responsibility of pouring piss out of a boot. Judges, especially, are notorious in this regard. The absence of tort law applicability to judicial decisions has always, I have felt, been an oversight.

Occam's Tool on April 6, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I believe judges should be held legally responsible for their decisions that lead to additional crominal acts of the felon in question.

    Joel-texag57 on April 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Criminal, not crominal!

      Joel-texag57 on April 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm

That does it. I’m burying my head in the sand THIS INSTANT!

Graty Slapchop on April 6, 2011 at 11:58 pm

I used to respect Dick Cheney!!! Looks like everybody is bought & paid for by the Mohammedans – if they are on the right, the sheikhs in KSA, UAE, Bahrein, Qatar or Quwait buy them, and if they are on the Left, they are bought by the Palis, the Iranians, the Libyans, the Syrians and so on.


Infidel Pride on April 7, 2011 at 1:01 am

There might be half an argument if a civilian was involved in this sort of situation, but this was a soldier. If KBR wishes to claim that it was not responsible, it should persuade a jury in the United States, and not seek to have an American jurist apply alien legal concepts in an American court. Also, would not the concept of extraterritoriality apply here? We have signed agreements with Iraq since it began to have a functioning government covering such matters. Finally, KBR should just cut a check for a reasonable amount and walk away from this, rather than tarnish its reputation further.

worry01 on April 7, 2011 at 3:35 am


But the Left wants America to surrender its sovereignty to the UN, to the European Union and to Islam and no surprise – the courts are following its lead.

Why bother to have a sovereign country if our citizens are going to be subject to someone else’s laws? That is is the real issue. Islam is just a sideshow.

Any number of foreign laws could soon be imposed by unelected federal judges upon Americans without their express consent.

That Debbie, is the real outrage here.

NormanF on April 7, 2011 at 4:55 am

The corruption continues…proving that ALL the scum involved have no shame whatsoever….

Nir Leiu on April 7, 2011 at 4:57 am

First, Iraqi law and Sharia are not the same thing. Even if Iraqi law has adopted some parts of Sharia law. That’s actually unfortunate because if they were one and the same thing the request would be thrown out on the basis of separation of church and state.

Second, the REAL offenders (IMHO) are the lawyers for KBR! There’s a diver’s joke: Why do sharks not attack lawyers? Professional courtesy…

Third, I think that the judge is actually doing the right thing! She’s pretending to consider the request to avoid giving the defense a reason to further delay by appealing (on the basis that their request to apply Iraqi law wasn’t considered).

Fourth, in the cases of misconduct of GI’s in allied territory (e.g. Okinawa) the US position is always that the (allegedly) offending GI be tried according to US (Military) law. While I’m not a shark I think this constitutes a legal precedent.

Fifth, this request is clearly a legal maneuver that has its roots in corporate lawyers who are used to try and simply exhaust (emotionally, financial or otherwise) the plaintiffs.

Sixth, as the estate of the deceased soldier is obviously a party to the plaintiffs I can’t understand why JAG isn’t representing them… Why is it that JAG more often then not (TV series aside) prosecute GI’s. The military (IMHO) is (should) provide legal services also to GI’s (just as the military provides medical services).

Eliezer on April 7, 2011 at 5:08 am

I can see this as just another step on the road of denationalization. In other areas, states are allowing people in this country rights when they are not only not citizens, but when they are not even in the country legally. A driver’s license, in-state tuition, and other benefits are being conferred to those who not only have no real attachment to this country, but through their actions have shown contempt for it. In the present case, foreign legal precepts are taking precedence over domestic ones. Things that people have taken for granted for generations are eroding away as sand castles beaten down by waves at the beach.

worry01 on April 7, 2011 at 7:57 am

An American soldier, defending American rights, spreading American views around the world, trained by American military, housed in American army barracks that are maintained by an American company, completing American missions, devoting his life to the American way, turns on his shower and dies from a jolt of electricity… not to mention a known hazard… now kbr wants MUSLIM SHIRA law to dictate American law… I feel so protected by my country

WilliamUtt Isafuck on April 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

    You’re right. Anything to absolve themselves from liability. If Sharia law is followed, KBR should never again be allowed to bid on government contracts. Period.

    DJH on April 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Sounds like a stall by KBR & the judge bit hard on it. Hopefully, the attorneys for the deceased’s family are not trying their case too narrowly & KBR will probably have to settle. KBR is under contract to provide for services to an American company. They took the contract under American dictates including doing overseas vending and thus are serving at the pleasure of the USA.

I don’t see how this holds up for KBR. The judge is just being a prickish obstacle costing the family time & money.

P. Aaron on April 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

I left the federal govt for one year to work for WSI @ Camp Falcon 2006-2007 in the fire dept. I can say that when in the shower on a number of times you could be shocked from touching the frame. Being in fire prevention in the fed side I learned to take photos of “issues” to prove my inspections. I kept the ones from Falcon.

David on April 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

Thee guy who did it was a radical muslim…….What is wrong with ISLAM??????????????

Shawn on April 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm

There’s nothing wrong with a woman using her maiden name as her middle name. It helps identify her to people who knew her before her marriage. The “disappearance” of women from public records when they marry because they no longer have the same name is a problem to researchers and even old high school friends who are trying to locate a pal.

The assuming of the husband’s name is a tradition based in owndership of women. If there was any sense to our customs, both partners would retain their birth names and children would assume their mother’s last name. After all, she risks her life and health to birth them.

However, sense does not drive custom. But if a woman wants to retain the last name that identifies her with her childhood and at least part of her youth it should not be seen as an automatic indicator that she should be viewed with suspicion.

An Off-Topic Point on April 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Bugger off.

    skzion on April 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Eliezer, you are incorrect. According to the Iraqi constitution, Section, Article 2:

First: Islam is the official religion of the State and is a foundation source of
A. No law may be enacted that contradicts the established provisions of Islam
B. No law may be enacted that contradicts the principles of democracy.
C. No law may be enacted that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms
stipulated in this Constitution.

Sharia law is Islamic jurisprudence over Iraq and no secular or foreign law is allowed to contradict it. The key phrase for Islam in Iraq is “foundation source of legislation”. Which mean the Iraqi parliament must defer to the Koran only for interpretation, consultation, consideration, and proposal for any new law to be applied for the country. All of Islam is centered around the Koran, of which sharia law is derived from (which explains another key phrase, “established provisions of Islam” in that Section 1, Article 2).

The language is very clear there: Islam is above democracy and basic freedoms. It is problematic for those of us in the West that place liberty, justice, equality, democracy, and basic freedoms above all religions, including Islam.

Rob on April 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm

she looks like hillary with a heavy dose of crazytown…

howard roark on April 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Sharia “law” shouldn’t even be applied to Muslims.

Tanstaafl on April 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I pray she is eventually dragged into a sharia law proceeding some day and answers for HER works. Unreal!

samurai on April 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm

It boggles the mind. Her mind on the other hand seems to think it is being held hostage and is defaulting to behaving as if she has Stockholm Syndrome

jake49 on April 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

@ Rob,

I beg to differ. “Islam is … a foundation source of
legislation” does NOT mean that Sharia (Islamic law) and Iraqi law are one and the same.

I wish it were otherwise if only because that would be in violation of the separation of Church & State which would make the case real easy for the plaintiffs.

Eliezer on April 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Disgusting as always, but its political ‘business as usual’ these days. It shouldn’t even be a question of which laws to use in this case.

John Edgar on April 8, 2011 at 5:22 am

I’m surprised to see that you voted for a Libertarian candidate. A lot of Lbertarians seem to be very anti-Israel.
I wouldn’t trust one.

Daniel Middleman on April 8, 2011 at 11:28 pm

KBR needs to have their assets seized as an example to corporate slimebuckets everywhere.

Nora Barry Fischer is about as pro-American as Bobby Fischer.

Your Lowness on April 9, 2011 at 3:16 pm

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