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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

9th Circuit Won’t Rehear Ruling on Nazi Art Law

(CN) - The 9th Circuit refused to rehear its decision rejecting a Connecticut woman's effort to recover a painting allegedly looted by Nazis during the Holocaust, now displayed at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

In August, a three-judge panel struck down a state law allowing Californians to recover Nazi-looted art, saying it's too broad and infringes on federal powers.

Judge David Thompson said the law's language "suggests that California's real purpose was to create a friendly forum for litigating Holocaust restitution claims, open to anyone in the world to sue a museum or gallery located within or without the state.

The ruling was a defeat for Marei von Saher, the only surviving heir of the late art dealer Jacques Goudstikker.

She claimed that Nazis stole a 16th century painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder from Goudstikker's Netherlands gallery in 1941. The Norton Museum bought the painting, a diptych of Adam and Eve, in 1971.

Saher sued the museum in 2007 under the state law, seeking to recover the painting.

The museum won dismissal after arguing that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the foreign affairs doctrine.

The 9th Circuit denied Saher's requests for a rehearing before the three-judge panel or a larger panel of the full court.

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