Gordon Hirabayashi

(1918-2012) Fought the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066.

Questioning Curfew A Dutiful Son Bypassing the Constitution

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Gordon Hirabayashi was born in 1918 in Seattle, Washington. As a student at the University of Washington, Hirabayashi was active in the YMCA and became a believer in social action and pacifism. With the outbreak of World War II and the consequential evacuation order of persons of Japanese ancestry, he chose to oppose the government's actions on the grounds of his personal beliefs as well as a constitutional issue.

Hirabayashi turned himself in to the FBI for violating curfew and was sentenced to prison for 90 days. With the support of the ACLU, his case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court in Hirabayashi v. United States. In 1943, the court ruled unanimously against him.

Some four decades later, Peter Irons uncovered documents that clearly showed government misconduct in 1942 that directly affected Hirabayashi's court case. With this new information, Hirabayashi's verdict was overturned in 1987 and long over-due justice was restored.

He passed away on January 2, 2012 at the age of 93. (January 4, 2012)

curfew discrimination racism incarceration internment resistance World War II

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