Korematsu V. United States Essay

1050 words - 4 pages

Korematsu v. United States

Korematsu v. United States (1944) actually began December 7, 1941 with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack on Pearl Harbor then began the conquering of Wake, Guam, Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, Dutch East Indies, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Burma. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, racism, which was hardly unfamiliar, became an even greater problem. The Japanese Government's attacks on Americans including; torturing, raping, and murdering was an excuse for Americans aversion towards the Japanese. Public officials began to lock up the Japanese people simply for their own good, for protection against the hate crimes.

Economic interest also encouraged the racism against the Japanese. Tough Japanese work ethics made Japanese businesses competition for Americans. Interest groups and individuals demanded legislators take action against all Japanese. All persons of Japans ancestry, including American citizens of Japanese ancestry, called Nisei, were reported to concentration camps. In reading American Constitutional Interpretation, it states, "General DeWitt explained, it was legitimate to put the Nisei behind barbed wire
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while allowing German and Italian aliens to remain free because "a Jap is a Jap" and World War II was "a war of the white race against a yellow race." (pg., 89).

In 1943 a student Gordon Hirabayashi disobeyed a report for evacuation and curfew. Hirabayashi v. United States (1943), was the first judicial test of the statute that was signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt to make it a crime to remain in a military zone, that was put to use towards an American citizen. Hirabayashi was convicted of both counts, evacuation and curfew, in Federal District Court. In the Court of Appeals he lost, and then received certiorari from the United States Supreme Court. Chief Justice Stone affirmed Hirabayashi's conviction on both counts, meaning Gordon Hirabayashi would have to serve the full sentence.

Fred Korematsu also an American citizen of Japanese descent was convicted of not reporting to his concentration camp. His reason was that he was unwilling to leave his sweetheart, Endo. Fred Korematsu was arrested, convicted and also obtained a certiorari of the Supreme Court just like Gordon Hirabayashi.

The Korematsu v. United States (1943), case was seen as a case of racism from General DeWitt, interest groups and particular members of the Supreme Court. Justice Black delivered the opinion of the court. Concerns pressing public necessity justified the existence of the legal restriction, which curtailed the civil rights of an American Citizen

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of Japanese descent, Fred Korematsu. Justice Black stated in American Constitutional Interpretation, "In light of the principles we announced in Hirabayashi v. United States (1943), we are unable to conclude that it was beyond the war power of Congress and the Executive to exclude those of Japanese...

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