Korematsu v. United States Argued: October 11-12, 1944 Decided: December 18, 1944
Events prior to the trial 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor Presidential Executive Order 9066 from Franklin Roosevelt. Military can remove people of Japanese Americans from areas of risk for national defense Fred Korematsu lived in such an area but stayed in his home claiming to be Mexican-American When it was discovered that he was Japanese he was arrested and convicted of violating an executive order
Hirabayashi v. United States There was a curfew set on Japanese- Americans who were not in military areas Gordon Hirabayashi violated the curfew and was convicted When appealed to the Supreme Court, the decision was 9-0 that the curfew was constitutional
Arguments of the Plaintiff Korematsu says the government cannot relocate people and discriminate based on race
Arguments of the Defendant The Japanese camps were necessary for the protection of the country
Amicus Curiae Briefs There were no amicus curiae briefs filed Korematsu has filed many in other cases
Supreme Court Decision 6-3 upholding Korematsu’s conviction Justice Hugo Black wrote the majority. He said "Pressing public necessity, may sometimes justify the existence of such restrictions; racial antagonism never can.” It was said the to distinguish from those loyal to Japan and who was not would be a very long and impossible task
Precedent The safety of this country comes first. If it is a question of the safety of the whole nation or the discrimination to a group of people, the safety of the nation comes first.
Dissenting Opinions Justice Robert Jackson said the Korematsu was just a citizen in the state he lives in and has the right to do so. Justice Owen Roberts wrote about how the relocation centers were prisons and Korematsu just “did nothing” when faced with this problem. Justice Frank Murphy wrote that the reason the Japanese were treated this way was because of racial stereotypes already set.
Events after the case 1983 Korematsu challenges his conviction again. His name was cleared but the Supreme Courts decision remained the same. 1998 Korematsu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Grutter v. Bollinger: affirmative action policy at University of Michigan Law School.
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