Korematsu v. United States?
What is the historical significance of this case?
- JDLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
Short Answer: The decision affirmed the power of the President to EXCLUDE (imprison) citizens based on race in a time of peril. This was a big step up from the government enforcing curfews, which was upheld in Hirabayashi v. United States.
It's significant because it was court affirmed racism and denied equal protection in a way that is regarded by most consitutional scholars as one of the worst decisions in the history of the court, right up there with Plessy v. Ferguson.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which required Japanese-Americans in the western United States to be excluded from a described West Coast military area.
In a 6-3 decision, the Court sided with the government, ruling that the exclusion order was constitutional. The opinion, written by Supreme Court justice Hugo Black, held that the need to protect against espionage outweighed Fred Korematsu's individual rights, and the rights of Americans of Japanese descent. (The Court limited its decision to the validity of the exclusion orders, adding, "The provisions of other orders requiring persons of Japanese ancestry to report to assembly centers and providing for the detention of such persons in assembly and relocation centers were separate, and their validity is not in issue in this proceeding.")
The decision in Korematsu v. United States has been very controversial. Indeed, Korematsu's conviction for evading internment was overturned on November 10, 1983, after Korematsu challenged the earlier decision by filing for a writ of coram nobis. In a ruling by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California granted the writ (that is, it voided Korematsu's original conviction) because in Korematsu's original case, the government had knowingly submitted false information to the Supreme Court that had a material impact on the Supreme Court's decision.
The Korematsu decision has not been explicitly overturned. Indeed, the Korematsu ruling is significant both for being the first instance of the Supreme Court applying the strict scrutiny standard to racial discrimination by the government and for being one of only a tiny handful of cases in which the Court held that the government met that standard.