Monday, March 4, 2024

9th Circuit Overturns Holocaust Looted-Art Law


Yesterday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down a 2002 California law giving owners and heirs to artworks looted by the Nazis extra time — until the end of 2010 — to sue for their return. The 9th Circuit found the California law unconstitutional.

Echoing the lower court’s ruling, the 9th Circuit found that “California officials overstepped their authority when they passed the state’s Holocaust art-restitution law, because they intruded on what is strictly a federal government prerogative to shape policies on war and foreign affairs.”

However, according to the LA Times, the 9th Circuit ruling did not settle the specific legal issue at hand, whether or not the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena really owns “one of the most prized works hanging in its galleries, Lucas Cranach the Elder’s depiction of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, moments before the Fall — or should the paintings on two wood panels be handed over to the daughter-in-law of a Jewish art dealer who left the panels in Holland when he fled the invading Germans in 1940?”

The LA Times has the full story here.


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