WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is indicating it could prevent survivors of a 1997 terrorist attack from seizing Persian artifacts at Chicago museums to help pay a $71.5 million default judgment against Iran.
The justices heard arguments Monday in an appeal from U.S. victims of a Jerusalem suicide bombing. They want to go after artifacts at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute.
Several justices sounded skeptical that the survivors could invoke a provision of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act in their quest. That federal law generally protects foreign countries' property in the U.S. but makes exceptions when countries provide support to extremist groups.
The victims say Iran provided training and support to Hamas, which carried out the attack. Iran refuses to pay the court judgment.