Defensive banking

by Ted Frank on March 4, 2007

With the great work David Nieporent has been doing guest-blogging, I rushed back early before I got Wally Pipped.

An op-ed in the Arab American News by Ihsan Alkhatib suggests that banks are closing accounts with people who do business with Saudis; the “know your customer” requirements and fear of liability for being associated with terrorists make the costs of keeping those accounts open prohibitive. Alkhatib cites my Wall Street Journal op-ed on the subject. (“Banks, civil rights groups and community members should lobby together for change in terror laws”, Mar. 3).

NB Alkhatib’s conclusion “In protecting the banks from frivolous lawsuits, we preserve the civil rights of Arab Americans and American Muslims.” Alkhatib is plainly using “frivolous” in the common sense of “silly or socially counterproductive,” further evidence of my contention that litigation lobby defenders confuse the subject when they pretend that laypeople are using the term “frivolous lawsuits” in the narrow technical legal sense, since the lawsuits in question are not “frivolous” in that narrow technical legal sense because of the willingness of judges to treat them seriously.

{ 1 comment }

1 David Nieporent 03.04.07 at 3:55 am

With the great work David Nieporent has been doing guest-blogging, I rushed back early before I got Wally Pipped.

As long as they don’t one day name a disease after me, Ted.

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