Extremely seldom does the Supreme Court decide unanimously on any subject, yet it has occurred in significant cases.
The Supreme Court, which has a solid conservative majority owing to former President Donald Trump, ruled on a case concerning World War II.
The Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the descendants of Jewish art merchants to recover compensation from Germany for the forced sale of medieval sacred artworks. The Nazi administration compelled the sale of this property in 1935.
Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, American courts cannot consider lawsuits against foreign governments, as determined by a unanimous ruling of the Supreme Court.
“An American court has thrown out a lawsuit against a German museum foundation over a medieval treasure trove that was filed by heirs of Nazi-era Jewish art dealers, saying that the US lacked jurisdiction to hear such a lawsuit,” the Art Newspaper reported.
“The foundation that oversees Berlin’s museums said in a statement on Tuesday that the US district court for the District of Columbia last week granted the foundation’s motion to dismiss the 2015 restitution lawsuit that was brought against it, bringing the case to an end in the US, absent an appeal by the plaintiff. The Welfenschatz, or Guelph Treasure, was at the center of a long-running ownership dispute, includes silver and gold crucifixes, altars, intricate silverwork, and other relics,” the art publication that covers the “international art world” continued.
Although the judges concluded that the heirs’ claims against the German government entities that operate state museums were forbidden by this statute, they ordered lower courts to explore other points, allowing the case to continue.
The case includes Jewish art merchants selling the Welfenschatz collection of ecclesiastical relics.
The majority of the collection includes of crosses and saint busts from the 11th to 15th century. The Berlin Museum of Modern Art showcases collection items.
In 2015, the heirs launched a lawsuit against Germany and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation seeking the return of $250 million.
According to the plaintiffs, the 1935 sale was a well-executed “sham transaction” conducted by Jews under pressure before to World War II.
The court ruled against the heirs’ claim that the forced sale constituted genocide and that Germany should not be immune from their action under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
John Roberts of the Supreme Court said in his opinion for the court that the law does not apply to a foreign country’s actions that violate the property rights of its citizens.
“As a nation, we would be surprised – and might even initiate reciprocal action – if a court in Germany adjudicated claims by Americans that they were entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars because of human rights violations committed by the United States government years ago,” Roberts explained. CONTINUE READING…