Saturday, May 17, 2014

Korematsu v. United States case brief summary

Korematsu v. United States (1944)


Facts/Issue/Holding: Korematsu, Japanese-American citizen refuses to leave his home for internment camp during WWII.  Executive Order 9066, issued by military commander, required all persons of Japanese descent—including U.S. citizens—to report to “Assembly Centers”.  Court upholds the order, saying it was based on a public necessity rather than racial antagonism.

Reasoning/Major Points:
·         Laws curtailing civil rights of single racial group are immediately suspect and warrant SS, but this does not mean laws that facially discriminate are automatically unconstitutional.  (Today, Korematsu stands for proposition that laws that are facially racially discriminatory almost always unjust and unconstitutional (see p. 505 Note).)
·         “Pressing public necessity” can justify racially discriminatory laws if shown to have a “definite and close” relationship to a state aim.
o   Deference given to the military authorities in their determination of what is necessary in this instance.
o   Important to the majority that Korematsu was not excluded because of hatred of him or his race.  Rather, he was excluded because of military necessity.
·         Dissent: When dealing with a military order we can use rational basis test instead of SS.  Even so, however, there is no rational basis for confining ALL Japanese people because some may be disloyal.

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