Korean Comfort Women Statue Case Reaches Supreme Court

March 29, 2017

 

                                                                                     (photo credit: LA Times)

 

The United States Supreme Court recently denied the plaintiffs’ petition for certiorari to review the dismissal of the lawsuit against the City of Glendale, which sought the removal of a monument in Glendale’s Central Park that memorializes the more than 200,000 Dutch and Asian women who were coerced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army between 1932 and 1945. 

 

The Lawsuit (Michiko Shiota Gingery, et al. v. City of Glendale, et al.) was filed against the City by Michiko Shiota Gingery, a Glendale resident and the Global Alliance for Historical Truth (GAHT-US), a nonprofit corporation. The plaintiffs claimed that the placement of the monument interfered with the Executive Branch’s primary authority to conduct foreign relations and was an unconstitutional interference with the federal government’s Foreign Affairs Power.

 

In response to the plaintiff’s petition, the court denied the certiorari, making final the decision of the US District Court and ending the case.  Previously, the District Court ruled that the plaintiffs did not have “standing” to bring suit as they suffered no tangible harm from the City’s placement of the monument in the park. Substantively, the court ruled that the plaintiffs could not articulate a clear conflict between the City’s approval of the monument and the federal government’s policies regarding recognition of the plight of the Comfort Women. The US District Court noted that, even according to the facts in the plaintiffs’ complaint, “Glendale’s placement of the statue is entirely consistent with the federal government’s foreign policy.” 

Michael Garcia, Glendale’s City Attorney, stated that, “The City Attorney’s Office and the attorneys from Sidley Austin LLP, the firm who provided pro bono legal services to assist the City’s litigation efforts, always believed that this lawsuit was without merit.” He stated, “We are pleased that the Court recognized our City Council’s right to make public pronouncements on matters important to our community.”

 

The Sidley Austin team of Bradley H. Ellis and Christopher S. Munsey, defended the City in the case with the assistance of Andrew Rawcliffe, Miah Yun and Ann Maurer of the Glendale City Attorney’s Office.

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