Decision of the United States Supreme Court in Movsesian et al v. Victoria Versicherung et al is not to review the unanimous 11-0 en banc decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, that invalidated a California law that characterized the Armenian tragedy of 1915 as genocide.
On February 23, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously held by a vote of 11-0 that a California law that was facially an insurance regulation had a more than incidental effect on U.S. foreign affairs. The court said that the statute,
"at its heart, intended to send a political message on an issue of foreign affairs by providing relief and a friendly forum to a perceived class of foreign victims."
Thus, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found that the California law usurped the U.S. President's foreign policy making prerogative.
In January 2011, the Republic of Turkey, represented by the law firm, Saltzman & Evinch, filed an Amicus (Friends of the Court) brief at the 9th Circuit underscoring U.S.-Turkish foreign policy concerns on the matter.
Prior to making its decision on whether to take the appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court sought the views of the United States government. In response the U.S. Solicitor General, Donald Verilli, submitted a brief that urged the Supreme Court not to take the appeal. In agreement with the Ninth Circuit, Verilli wrote that the California legislature had
"attempted to ... create judicially enforceable rights based on politically charged events that occurred on foreign soil nearly a century ago."
This case has had a long and winding history. The invalid statute was passed in 2000, prompting several German insurance companies and their reinsurer to sue, attacking the constitutionality of the statue. When the statute was first challenged U.S. District Judge Christine Snyder ruled in favor of the Armenian plaintiffs on several counts in 2007. But the German insurance companies appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who, on August 20, 2009, reversed the District Court by a vote of 2-1 in favor of the insurance companies. However, On December 10, 2010, the panel, on motion from the plaintiffs, reversed itself, by a 2-1 vote. Apparently one judge had changed her vote at the urging of the dissenting judge. Then-ATAA President Gunay Evinch stated in the media,
"The behavior of the dissenting judge is not indicative of American justice; I am certain that the American judicial system will right this wrong."
The defendant insurance companies then asked that an expanded panel of judges representative of the full court review the self-reversal and settle the matter for once and for all, which it did. That decision now stands, and with the Supreme Court's denial of review, can no longer be appealed.
ATAA Trustee Evinch's law firm is currently defending the Turkish Central Bank and Turkish Ziraat Bank in Armenian reparations cases. Recently, the District Court in Los Angeles dismissed the cases. Plaintiffs Bakalian and Davoyan have appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
kindly received from Ms Oya Bain