Amid Split on Bank Case, U.S. Seeks a Middle Path

New York Times
May 27, 2014
Charlie Savage

WASHINGTON — Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. faced a legal and bureaucratic dilemma this year: Obama administration officials could not agree about what he should tell the Supreme Court about a lawsuit in which American victims of terrorist attacks in Israel are suing Arab Bank, the largest financial institution in Jordan.

The plaintiffs have accused Arab Bank of providing services to terrorists responsible for the attacks. The bank asked the Supreme Court to intervene and reverse an unusual ruling that will affect a coming trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.

When the justices asked the administration to weigh in, the State Department pushed to side with the bank, while the Justice and Treasury Departments wanted the executive branch to stay out of the dispute. Now, in a filing to the Supreme Court, Mr. Verrilli appears to be trying to find a middle course.

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