Guarding the Historical Record from the Nazi-Era Art Litigation Tumbling Toward the Supreme Court

This year, the Supreme Court is expected
to review multiple cert petitions involving Nazi‐looted‐art litigation.
Jennifer Anglim Kreder writes that courts should carefully consider
the unique context of this litigation before applying procedural bars
to the claims advocated by the museums who have now come into ownership
of the art. She begins by describing the historical background
of these claims, as well as the federal government's response, arguing
that the executive's consistent policy has been to return the art
to the original owners or heirs whenever possible. Nonetheless,
Professor Kreder contends that in recent litigation—primarily in the
form of museums seeking to quiet title in a declaratory action—lower
courts have not recognized this policy, finding the claims time‐barred
or the sales voluntary, and holding the heirs responsible for failing
to conduct a more timely investigation of these claims. Instead, she
concludes, courts should defer to the Executive's model of justice.

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