Presidential Authority to Settle Claims of the Hostages and Their Families


The President may agree to a settlement with Iran whereby any tort claims of the hostages and their families against Iran would be extinguished, without working a taking for a public purpose within the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment.  This conclusion is reinforced by the difficulty of identifying loss to the hostages and their families as a result of a claims settlement effected to secure their release, and the unlikelihood of their being able to recover in tort against Iran in any event in light of the noncommercial tort provision in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(5).

Updated July 9, 2014