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Sunday, December 06, 2020

SCOTUS and Shoah expropriation

SCOTUS tackles claims of Shoah expropriation on Monday in Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp and Republic of Hungary v. Simon and whether such claims can be brought in U.S. courts. Both cases consider whether international-comity abstention is available in cases under the expropriations exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which I will be covering for SCOTUSBlog. Germany raises the additional question of whether jurisdiction is possible under the expropriations exception when a foreign sovereign takes property from its citizens in its territory.

The Germany briefs offer a fascinating contrast in framing a case. The case arises from one piece of Nazi art looting--the collection known as the Weldenschatz (Guelph Treasure). Germany's summary of the facts goes, "A group of Jewish art collectors bought the collection in 1929, there was a worldwide depression in the 1930s, the collectors sold it at a bit of a loss, but hey, there was a worldwide depression, the collection has been on display without complaint since after the war." The survivors' summary of the facts goes, "Goering, Goebbels, Nuremberg Laws, Wannsee Conference, systematic exclusion of Jews from civil service and other parts of German society, gift for Hitler, lives destroyed, people dragged through the streets and killed by a mob in Frankfurt."

I will be writing about the comity piece of both arguments tomorrow.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 6, 2020 at 09:16 PM | Permalink


"What kind of a Jew am I? The kind that if I forget I'm a Jew, every few years the world comes along and reminds me."
(Character in a long-forgotten detective story. The quote remains in memory!)

Posted by: Peter D. Lederer | Dec 7, 2020 11:07:49 AM

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