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January 22, 2015

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Museum in Nazi-Looted Art Case

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to hear an appeal by the Norton Simon Museum in a case that could see the Pasadena, Calif., institution lose two prized works that were taken by the Nazis from a Jewish owner, the Los Angeles Times writes. The decision allows the the daughter-in-law of a Jewish Dutch art dealer to continue pursuing a restitution claim for the 16th-century paintings of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

The high court's inaction could have a broader impact on cases involving Nazi-looted art in that it lets stand a June 2014 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that gave legal weight to international accords on how governments and museums should handle art claims by the heirs of Holocaust victims. The Norton Simon Museum has argued that Marei Von Saher's case should be dismissed because it contradicts prior U.S. policies on processes for considering such cases.