Japanese American Internment and Supreme Court Essay

Submitted By jgromance
Words: 808
Pages: 4

Korematsu Versus United States This essay is a historical evaluation of the constitutionality of the Japanese internment during World War 2. The source for this essay is the 1944 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Korematsu versus the United States. This essay is structured as a compare and contrast of the various justice’s opinions. It should be noted that this case was set after Japanese bombing of the Pearl Harbor and other bases, our entry into World War 2, and during a time of great fear in the United States. The fear of a Japanese invasion of California was very real. Mr. Black and Mr. Frankfurter believed that the relocation order was constitutional. Mr. Black brought up the Executive Order No. 9066. It was believed that there were Japanese who were working in the US to commit both espionage and sabotage. The goal was to break down the national defenses, and aid the Japanese in an invasion of California. The Executive Order says that, during war time, all possible protections must be made against espionage, sabotage, and invasion. He justified the act of imprisoning all Japanese and Japanese-Americans by saying it were the only sure way to stop all spies and saboteurs. In other words, with no way to quickly single out the spies and saboteurs, they decided to roundup everyone. The fear was that they would launch out on their ships and sail over to California and invade the U.S. There was no way for the U.S. to determine how many and who the disloyal Japanese were in this country. Because he had only been convicted of violating provision number one, provision one was the only part of the executive order the Supreme Court could rule on. Provision one states that he was supposed to leave the area but did not. Since he never reported to the assembly area he can’t be prosecuted for leaving that area. Finally, since he was not under military control he can’t be prosecuted for leaving the military control. Mr. Frankfurter concurred with Mr. Black and added to it the Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34 which states, “The provisions of the Constitution which confer on the Congress and the President Powers to enable this country to wage war are as much part of the Constitution as provisions looking to a nation at peace….” He said that because he believed that the internment of Japanese were an exercise of the war power. Therefore it was constitutional to infringe on the civil rights. Jackson, Roberts and Murphy maintained that the order violated Korematsu’s rights as a United States citizen. Mr. Murphy said that this exclusion of “all Japanese ancestry, both alien and non- alien,” violated Korematsu’s individual rights. While it was essential to let the military have discretion, they still have to have a reason for imprisoning these people, other than their race. Murphy dissented because he said it was about racism, there was no truth there was anything wrong, and that we were imprisoning American citizens based on race.