Korematsu v. United States


After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 by Japanese planes, anti-Japnese sentiment on the west Coast rose to almost hysterical proportions. All People of Japanese ancestry, even citizens of the united States, were suspected of being pro-japan, or worse saboteurs and spies for japan. Korematsu v. United States was a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of citizenship.  Fred Korematsu was a Japanese-American man who decided to stay in San Leandro, California and knowingly violated Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34 of the U.S. Army. Fred Korematsu argued that the Executive Order 9066 was unconstitutional and that it violated the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. He was arrested and convicted. No question was raised as to Korematsu's loyalty to the United States. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari.


The court decided against korematsu by a vote of 6 to 3. In 1943 the court had upheld the governments position in a similar case hirabayashi v. united states. In the case it concerned the west coast curfew order. the courts language pointed toward the necessity of giving the military the benefit of the doubt on the grounds of wartime necessity. the court said we cannot reject as unfounded the judgement of the military authorities and of congress. Although the court admitted awareness of the hardships internment imposed on american citizens it stated "hardship are part of war".

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