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Homeland Security and Federal Relief: A Proposal for a Permanent Compensation System for Domestic Terrorist Victims
Betsy Grey
9 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y 663 (2006)
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In a remarkably rapid response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress created the largest federally-backed no-fault compensation system in our nation's history: the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. The September 11th Fund was designed to address a discrete situation: the consequences of the worst terrorist attack in United States history. But the Fund raises policy questions that stretch beyond its specific application. More generally, to what extent should government spread responsibility for the victims of terrorist attacks, and what are the limits of public compassion? A national conversation on this fundamental issue is taking place.

This article addresses the help government extends to victims of terrorism. Part I of this article examines the September 11th Fund. Part II discusses the issues underlying whether the government has an obligation to provide compensation to terrorist victims. Part III overviews other domestic compensation schemes, focusing on the Price-Anderson Act, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, and the workers' compensation system. Part IV examines compensation systems for terrorist victims adopted by Great Britain and Israel. Part V argues that although the Fund was successful, it did not go far enough; to ensure greater success, a compensation fund for terrorist victims should be permanent. Part VI makes recommendations for legislation.
Keywords: terrorism, compensation fund, September 11th Fund
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