Fred Korematsu – a single voice against a Fearful Government
Never again? Google’s celebration of Korematsu is a timely reminder to the US grass roots and their new President Trump … Mr. Korematsu used the Separation of Powers, the Supreme Court and the Press to OVERTURN the flawed law, rather than be paralyzed by anger at the author of one Executive Order.
“Justice Robert Jackson issued a vociferous, yet nuanced, dissent. “Korematsu … has been convicted of an act not commonly thought a crime,” he wrote. “It consists merely of being present in the state whereof he is a citizen, near the place where he was born, and where all his life he has lived.” The nation’s wartime security concerns, he contended, were not adequate to strip Korematsu and the other internees of their constitutionally protected civil rights.
In the second half of his dissent, however, Jackson admitted that ultimately, in times of war, the military would likely maintain the power to arrest citizens –…. Nonetheless, he resisted the Court’s compliance in lending the weight of its institutional authority to justify the military’s actions, and contended that the majority decision struck a “far more subtle blow to liberty” than did the order itself: “A military order, however unconstitutional, is not apt to last longer than the military emergency. … But once a judicial opinion rationalizes such an order to show that it conforms to the Constitution, or rather rationalizes the Constitution to show that the Constitution sanctions such an order, the Court for all of time has validated the principle of racial discrimination. … The principle then lies about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of urgent need.“
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Korematsu” redirects here. For the Supreme Court case, see Korematsu v. United States.
Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu (是松 豊三郎 Korematsu Toyosaburō?, January 30, 1919 – March 30, 2005) was one of the many Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast of the United States at the onset of World War II. Shortly after the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the Secretary of War and his military commanders to remove all individuals of Japanese ancestry from designated “military areas” and place them in internment camps in what is known as the Japanese American internment. When such orders were issued for the West Coast, Korematsu instead became a fugitive. The legality of the internment order was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States, but Korematsu’s conviction was overturned decades later after the disclosure of new evidence challenging the necessity of the internment, evidence which had been withheld from the courts by the U.S. government during the war.
To commemorate his journey as a civil rights activist, the “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution” was observed for the first time on January 30, 2011, by the state of California, and first such commemoration for an Asian American in the US. In 2015, Virginia passed legislation to make it the second state to permanently recognize each January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day.
The Fred T. Korematsu Institute was founded in 2009 to carry on Korematsu’s legacy as a civil rights advocate by educating and advocating for civil liberties for all communities.
Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of citizenship.
In a 6–3 decision, the Court sided with the government, ruling that the exclusion order was constitutional. Six of eight Roosevelt appointees sided with Roosevelt. The lone Republican appointee, Owen Roberts, dissented. The opinion, written by Supreme Court justice Hugo Black, held that the need to protect against espionage outweighed Fred Korematsu‘s individual rights, and the rights of Americans of Japanese descent. (The Court limited its decision to the validity of the exclusion orders, adding, “The provisions of other orders requiring persons of Japanese ancestry to report to assembly centers and providing for the detention of such persons in assembly and relocation centers were separate, and their validity is not in issue in this proceeding.”) During the case, Solicitor General Charles Fahy is alleged to have suppressed evidence by keeping from the Court a report from the Office of Naval Intelligence indicating that there was no evidence that Japanese Americans were acting as spies or sending signals to enemy submarines.
The decision in Korematsu v. United States has been controversial. Korematsu’s conviction for evading internment was overturned on November 10, 1983, after Korematsu challenged the earlier decision by filing for a writ of coram nobis. In a ruling by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted the writ (that is, it voided Korematsu’s original conviction) because in Korematsu’s original case, the government had knowingly submitted false information to the Supreme Court that had a material effect on the Supreme Court’s decision.
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