Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/670/

Is 'Korematsu v. United States' still a threat to American civil liberties?

Certainly, as I said, given the coram nobis case, it should be read knowing that the factual underpinnings of the case have been found to be fraudulent.

Yet the case still is on the books for a few very dangerous propositions. One proposition that Korematsu can be read to support is that the military does have authority over civilians during time of national crisis. Certainly it is not the only relevant authority that exists out there. There are other cases that do say that military power over civilians must be seriously scrutinized and curtailed, and that the Constitution is the ultimate authority, even in time of crisis. But Korematsu still stands for that very dangerous proposition that the military can exercise control over civilians, number one. 

Number two, it stands for certainly the dangerous precedent that civilian authorities can just delegate outright to the military the authority to take whatever acts it deems necessary, and that the civilian authorities, the President, Congress, whatever, (can) totally give up their Constitutional authority to protect the citizenry.


civil rights Fred Korematsu governments politics

Date: March 23 & 24, 2000

Location: Washington, US

Interviewer: Margaret Chon, Alice Ito

Contributed by: Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

Interviewee Bio

Sansei female. Born 1955 in Los Angeles, CA. Grew up in Gardena, CA, surrounded by a large Japanese American community. Influenced by father's role in community and politics, and mother's emphasis on education. Attended University of California, Santa Barbara where she became increasingly aware of Japanese American history, issues of ethnic identity and racial inequality. Attended the University of San Francisco School of Law where she honed her commitment to political and social activism.

Only a few years out of law school, she joined a team of lawyers working to reopen the Supreme Court's 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States. Convicted of violating the exclusion order during World War II, Mr. Korematsu's case went all the way to the Supreme Court where the exclusion and incarceration of Japanese Americans was upheld as constitutional, based on the government's argument of 'military necessity.' Through a petition for writ of error coram nobis (establishing that the case was premised on errors of fact withheld from the judge and the defense by the prosecution), the legal team reopened the case, provided evidence that the factual underpinnings to the exclusion orders were fraudulent, and successfully had the Korematsu conviction vacated, as well as a handful of other similar convictions. In this interview, Ms. Bannai discusses the coram nobis legal team, the support for the effort among the Japanese American community, and personal lessons gained from being a part of this effort. (March 24, 2000)

George Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
George Ariyoshi

Being fair

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
George Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
George Ariyoshi

Role of Hawaii internationally

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Tree planting

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Relationship with S.I. Hayakawa

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Past ties to present situation in Middle East

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama
en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama

Didn't have rights that whites had

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

en
ja
es
pt
Peggie Nishimura Bain
en
ja
es
pt
Peggie Nishimura Bain

Getting citizenship back

(b.1909) Nisei from Washington. Incarcerated at Tule Lake and Minidoka during WWII. Resettled in Chicago after WWII

en
ja
es
pt
Peggie Nishimura Bain
en
ja
es
pt
Peggie Nishimura Bain

Response to loyalty questionnaire

(b.1909) Nisei from Washington. Incarcerated at Tule Lake and Minidoka during WWII. Resettled in Chicago after WWII

en
ja
es
pt
Frank Yamasaki
en
ja
es
pt
Frank Yamasaki

Thoughts on redress

(b. 1923) Nisei from Washington. Resisted draft during WWII.

en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Lack of political power led to camps

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Redress payments to Issei who did not enter camps

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

State Department records show concern for treatment of Japanese American internees

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Lack of support from fellow Nikkei lawyers during the war

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
en
ja
es
pt
Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Political motivation to keep the camps open until end of 1944 election

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

en
ja
es
pt
Dale Minami
en
ja
es
pt
Dale Minami

Not fully understanding parents' World War II incarceration while growing up

(b. 1946) Lawyer

en
ja
es
pt

Discover Nikkei Updates

NIKKEI CHRONICLES #13
Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
NIMA VOICES
Episode 16
June 25 (US) | June 26 (Japan)
Featured Nima:
Stan Kirk
Guest Host:
Yoko Murakawa
PROJECT UPDATES
NEW SITE DESIGN
See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon!