The Stone Court (1943-1945). Seated, from left to right: Justices Stanley F. Reed and Owen J. Roberts, Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone, and Justices Hugo L. Black and Felix Frankfurter. Standing, from left to right: Robert H. Jackson, William O. Douglas, Frank Murphy, and Wiley B. Rutledge.
"Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry"
Manzanar Internment Camp
The vote in Korematsu was 6-3
The Supreme Court's decision in Korematsu v. U.S.
The “exclusion from a threatened area,” the Court observed, “has a definite and close relationship to the prevention of espionage and sabotage.”
Justice Roberts: "The indisputable facts exhibit a clear violation of Constitutional rights."
Justice Frank Murphy observed that “this exclusion of ‘all persons of Japanese ancestry . . . . goes over ‘the very brink of constitutional power,’ and falls into the ugly abyss of racism.” Because “no reliable evidence is cited to show that such individuals were generally disloyal,” he wrote, the government did not satisfy the burden to justify this “obvious racial discrimination.”
Notice in Federal Register rescinding Civilian Exclusion Order
Trump v. Hawaii (2018): "Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history, and--to be clear--has no place in law under the Constitution."
On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet of the U.S. Navy, which was docked in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The following day, Congress declared war against Japan. Over the next three years, the Supreme Court would consider the legality of three executive actions taken by the Roosevelt administration during the war against Japan. First, in Hirabayashi v. United States (1943), the Justices unanimously upheld a curfew imposed against American citizens of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. Second, in Ex parte Endo (1944), the Court unanimously halted the military’s detention of Japanese-Americans in detention camps. In the third case, Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Justices upheld the military’s exclusion of Japanese-Americans from certain “zones” on the West Coast. This 6-3 deci- sion upheld Fred Korematsu’s conviction for violating the exclusion order.
Justice Black wrote the majority opinion in Korematsu.
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