The Supreme Court Case, Korematsu v. United States, had a major impact on American society. The Supreme Court case originated in San Leandro, California. It was argued on October 11 and 12 in 1944, and finally decided on December 18. The petitioner was Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu, a Japanese and American-born citizen, who challenged the civilian exclusion order set to send those of Japanese descent to internment camps. The president at the time was Franklin Roosevelt. He was there for the majority of WWII, and signed Executive Order 9066, removing over 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes in the West Coast. Two advocates in the case were Wayne M. Collins and Charles A. Horsky, both for the petitioner. Charles Fahy was the Solicitor General for the respondent. The case was decided by the Stone Court, and Justice Hugo Black was the one who wrote the deciding majority opinion.     It all began when the President’s Executive Order 9066 and Congress gave military the authority to remove citizens and non citizens with Japanese descent from areas that they would call critical during that time. This was focused in the West and had to do with the threat of Japan in WWII. Korematsu was one man who decided to stay in California and not comply to the orders of the US Army. He did not believe they could issue orders of relocation, and that this was specifically discriminating against him on a racial level. The government argued back, however, that it was a necessary action to protect the country. The case began when Korematsu was arrested for violating executive orders. He began in the US Districts court of the Northern districts of California and he was convicted there.  The next step took him to the United States Court of Appeals, who made the decision to uphold this conviction. It was then finally taken to the Supreme Court for what was the final decision at the time.     In the Supreme Court, it was a 6-3 decision to uphold the decision to convict Korematsu. He came in With the claims of discrimination based on Race and the question of if the president and congress went beyond their powers by using exclusion and restricting rights. The supreme court in return decided that the compulsory exclusion was constitutionally justified under the ruling of a state of “emergency and peril”. They said it was for the country’s protection, and it was lawful. The need for that protection against espionage would surpass Korematsu’s rights.     This ruling’s effects would create a holding that any law passed that was discriminating was constitutional only if it was necessary and served an extremely important purpose. They continued with the camps, and after Korematsu lost, he was sent to one. It was just two and a half years later when Roosevelt rescinded the executive order, and the last camp closed in 1945. It was 40 years later when Korematsu would challenge his conviction once again. The government did end up apologizing for its actions, and his conviction was actually overturned in 1983. The judge who did so said that the government’s case had been based on non factual, misleading, and racially biased information.  Soon after this, legislation was passed awarding compensation to those who are still alive. Korematsu received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 as well.     There are some other interesting thing of or relating to this Case. There was another case that went to the supreme court involving the Japanese internment camps. Hirabayashi v. United States was established under similar grounds and he was convicted as well. He went for an overturn in 1983 after his retirement from a university professor, and both his convictions were unanimously overturned in 1987. Orders similar to the movement orders in the US occurred in Canada as well for Japanese Canadians during the time. Also related to the internment camps, more than two-thirds of those sent were citizens. There was a definite majority of Japanese descent, but there had been thousands of people with various European descent sent to the camps too. There are a lot of interesting things about the legally questionable actions taken during WWII, and a discriminatory case would only ever be considered okay when the people feared for their lives and their country.     I can say that I agree with the court’s decision, but only for the time period. It was important to the government to have caution when there was the threat of spies or other possibilities. There is he potential that what they did was successful in prevention. Their ruling of its necessity was appropriate. I also agree with their future overturn and apology for discriminating. It is not very likely that we will have a repeat of this kind of thing in society today. Even if we go to war with a certain country, we will probably not isolate a certain race or religion. It is a difficult topic to decide on because you have to take both people’s deserved rights and the safety of all into consideration. Korematsu brought the idea that the government did not have the power to implement exclusion. One can agree that they should never discriminate against or exclude a certain people, but you can definitely see how they may have considered it a necessary and proper action for their situation with Japan. If they did this today there would probably be backlash, regardless of the fear of people. If anything, there should have been some kind of limit, mainly on citizens or long-time citizens. It seems unfair that someone who has only known the US was to be removed and placed. Their rights as natural born or long time citizens could have been considered. Still, the country took precautions against any and all possible threats. Overall, for the circumstances of the time, The ruling of the Korematsu v. United States case seems fit. 


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