US Supreme Court

From freedom of speech trials to Holocaust restitution cases , the country’s highest court regularly weighs in on issues that affect the arts. Following the recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the court’s four liberal justices, and the appointment of conservative Amy Coney Barrett to replace her, we look at some of the major decisions it has made over the years

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Law

US Supreme Court and its impact on the arts: 1990-2020

From freedom of speech trials to Holocaust restitution cases , the country’s highest court regularly weighs in on issues that affect the art world

News
Law

Germany’s arguments to toss Guelph Treasure case raise concerns from US lawmakers

In Supreme Court filings, the country claims the sale of a valuable collection at a deep discount during the Nazi-era did not violate international law

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Law

In victory for street artists, US Supreme Court declines to hear 5Pointz developer’s appeal

A New York judge previously awarded $6.75m in damages to the artists, whose graffiti was whitewashed from a Queens warehouse

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Art law

New York developer who whitewashed 5Pointz graffiti—and owes artists $6.75m in damages—appeals to Supreme Court

Petition focuses on the phrasing of the Visual Artists Rights Act, which protects works of “recognized stature” without defining what that means

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Nazi loot

US government recommends that the Supreme Court hear German museums’ appeal on Guelph Treasure claim

The solicitor general’s recent filing suggests the Nazis’ looting of Jewish collections in Germany was a domestic rather than international crime

Blog
Diary

Courtroom artists draw from imagination as the US Supreme Court moves oral arguments online

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Law

Supreme Court rules film-maker cannot sue North Carolina for copyright infringement

Opinion finds Congress overstepped its authority with 1990 federal statute, but allowed for a new law to "stop states from behaving as copyright pirates"

Comment
Law

The US Supreme Court’s silence on Nazi art theft fails Holocaust survivors

Last week’s decision to reject an appeal over the ownership of Picasso’s The Actor was a missed opportunity to clarify the limitations of the 2016 HEAR Act

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Nazi loot

Supreme Court delays Guelph Treasure appeal so US government can add its views to case

The German state museum agency has argued that it cannot be sued in American courts by heirs of Jewish dealers who sold the works during the Holocaust

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Nazi loot

Berlin museums appeal to US Supreme Court in dispute over €200m Guelph Treasure

The case 'shouldn't be heard in a US court', argues the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation

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Law

Artist's copyright infringement suit heads to US Supreme Court

North Carolina used film director’s images without obtaining his permission or compensating him

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Law

US Supreme Court declines to hear appeal on Nazi-looted art

Norton Simon Museum can keep two Lucas Cranach masterpieces

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Law

US Supreme Court declines to review a challenge to the National Gallery's ownership of a Matisse

Grandchildren of muse depicted in 1908 painting exhaust their US appeals

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Looting

Heirs of Baron Herzog continue battle for Nazi-looted art collection despite US Supreme Court dismissal

Decades-long case to reclaim works held in Hungary’s museums will now go through US District Court

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Politics

The art world reacts to US Supreme Court’s travel ban decision

Early signs of the order’s impact on cultural exchange have artists and curators concerned

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Politics

Trump’s travel ban: artists and museums speak out against third iteration

US Supreme Court called on to consider potential harm to arts organisations and the American public

Comment
Politics

Vital artistic exchanges will be stifled by Trump's travel ban

The amicus brief signed by more than 100 museums should shame the justices of the US Supreme Court

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Law

Terror victims cannot seize Iranian antiquities, US Supreme Court rules

A 2008 amendment to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not open a foreign nation's assets to claimants, the justices unanimously decided

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Law

Supreme Court hears arguments in claim against Iranian antiquities

Victims of a 1997 suicide attack want to seize ancient Persian tablets from a Chicago museum to satisfy a $71m judgment in their favour

News

Van Gogh’s The Night Café to stay at Yale after US Supreme Court rejects appeal

Decision puts to rest lengthy legal battle started by Pierre Konowaloff in 2008

Archive
October 2013

Married same-sex couples to get art tax breaks

Museums could benefit, as well as spouses who inherit works

Archive
December 2011

US Supreme Court to consider copyright extension for foreign artists

Artists argue that law could adversely affect works involving appropriation

Archive
June 2010

Animal cruelty law rejected

US Supreme Court rules that ten-year-old statute, designed to outlaw "crush" videos, is unconstitutionally broad

Archive
September 2009

Artists and academics fight animal rights activists in US Supreme Court

Anti-censorship group believes law against images of cruelty limits artistic freedoms

Archive
July 2004

Austria can be sued in the US over Nazi-loot case, Supreme Court says

The Justices rule six to three in favour of Maria Altmann. She can now pursue her case in American courts

Archive
April 2004

Oral arguments begin in Supreme Court Klimt case

The Bush administration argues that Austria cannot be sued in a US court because it would interfere with foreign relations

Archive
April 2004

Some progress has been made in restitution of Klimt paintings, but much more needs to be done

Although successful restitutions have been achieved through focused research in individual museums, numerous cases in federal and provincial museums still need to be solved

Archive
November 2003

Maria Altmann's Holocaust restitution case against Austria will be heard by the US Supreme Court

An American citizen is claiming six Klimts from the Nationalgalerie in Vienna alleged to have been seized from her uncle by the Nazis and then unlawfully retained by Austria after the war

Archive
September 1998

Congress can enforce “decency” when making arts grants, US Supreme Court rules

"Avant-gardeartistes remain entirely free to épater les bourgeois," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, "they are merely deprived of the additional satisfaction of having the bourgeoisie taxed to pay for it"

Archive
May 1998

Supreme Court justices consider whether decency test for NEA grants is unconstitutional

Instead of raising hopes that they might deal a decisive slap in the face to Congressional limits on artistic expression, the justices gave no clear indication of where they were heading in the case