On August 11, 2016, three heirs of individuals forcibly sterilized under North Carolina’s forty-year Eugenics program filed their appellees’
to the North Carolina Supreme Court. In February, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the heirs’ constitutional challenge to the Eugenics Compensation Act’s requirement that sterilization victims be alive on June 30, 2013 to be eligible for compensation.
Both the heirs and the State sought review by the state Supreme Court after the ruling by the Court of Appeals. The parties filed their respective appellant’s briefs to the Supreme Court in July, with both sides arguing that North Carolina’s appellate courts have jurisdiction to hear the heirs’ constitutional challenge to the living victim threshold. The heirs reiterated that argument in their brief filed on Thursday, further urging the North Carolina Supreme Court to rule on the merits of their claim. If the Supreme Court instead affirms the ruling of the Court of Appeals, the Eugenics victims will be forced to present their challenge to a three-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court, impacting not just these victims but also others who qualified for compensation and cannot receive their final restitution payments until all appeals are resolved.
More than 7,600 people were forcibly sterilized during North Carolina’s forty-year Eugenics program. Non-white women represented a disproportionately high percentage of those sterilized. Although the state legislature passed the Eugenics Compensation Act in 2013, following decades of advocacy by victims and their families, just 220 victims “qualified” to receive compensation under the terms of the Act.
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Fri. August 12, 2016 4:23 PM
Race Discrimination, Sterilization