Snapshot: Emily Balter ’13

As an undergraduate, Emily studied art history at Princeton; at HLS, she has developed an interest in the ways that law and morality intersect. Her winter term 2013 project — to research and write a paper assessing the role and place of morality in the restitution of art looted during the Holocaust — took her to London. Her research focused on the Spoliation Advisory Panel, a government entity that was formed to consider, in an extra-judicial setting, restitution claims concerning artworks hung in Britain’s national museums. “Once the Panel has made its recommendation, the tension between moral and legal obligations is in stark relief,” Emily noted. During her time in London, she interviewed British attorneys representing Holocaust survivors and their heirs, as well as counsel representing British museums and representatives from major auction houses. “The moral questions that come before the Panel are so nuanced and often difficult to answer — much more so that I had expected before beginning this project,” Emily explained. Her paper also looks at the moral judgments that were made in establishing the Spoliation Panel and others like it in Europe, and at whether the moral questions identified and considered by the Panel should become part of U.S. law and factored into judicial decision-making.

(Please visit “Winter Term 2013: Snapshots from Students” to read about other recent projects.)