Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Last month, we had a brief item on efforts to have Holocaust-related life insurance benefits paid out. Today comes word from Washington that Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) "is filing legislation that would give untold victims of Nazi concentration camps a legal right to sue European insurers in U.S. courts."
This is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it would lend some powerful cred to the claimants' cause. If the Congress of the United States has a stake in the outcome (as it would if the legislation passes), then this will be a powerful tool for those who are fighting to see justice done.
The problem is that the insurers, perhaps justifiably, require death certificates in order to approve the claims. Yet much like those who perished in the World Trade Center tragedy, producing such paperwork is problematic. It's not like those who ran the death camps took the time to fill out death certificates so that families could someday collect on life insurance policies.
There's a potential problem here that may make passage of the bill difficult: such legislation would conflict with the President's primacy in handling foreign policy. We're already seeing Congress grappling with the issue vis Iraq, and members may be reluctant to wage a similar battle for such a small constituency.
Still, the cause is just, so it will be interesting to watch how this plays out.
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