N.C. Supreme Court keeps three eugenics compensation cases alive

The N.C. Supreme Court has reversed the state Court of Appeals and revived three separate lawsuits involving the state’s eugenics compensation program. All three cases involve the estates of eugenics victims who died before a 2013 deadline set in the compensation law.

The state’s highest court agreed unanimously that the Appeals Court has jurisdiction to review the plaintiffs’ constitutional challenges against the eugenics compensation law. The Appeals Court had ruled earlier that it had no jurisdiction in the case and had dismissed the appeal.

The Eugenics Asexualization and Sterilization Compensation Program limited compensation payments to eugenics victims who were still alive as of June 30, 2013. Each of the court cases challenged that provision, saying it “violates the guarantees of equal protection and due process in Article I, Section 19 of the North Carolina Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” according to Justice Barbara Jackson’s opinion in the Supreme Court case.

Now the Court of Appeals will take up those constitutional claims.

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