• Ali Assareh

Today in Legal (and Life) History: Legalization of racism by SCOTUS (Dec 18, 1944)

*Today in Legal (and Life) History*


Today, on December 18, 1944, the US Supreme Court decided Korematsu v. United States, allowing the US government to continue to imprison Japanese-Americans (many of whom were born and raised here - Americans!) in internment / prison camps, solely because of their race.


To see the injustice of that decision, you only need to read the majority opinion itself. Writing for the 6-Justice majority, Justice Hugo Black struggles to keep his own arguments consistent even in the same paragraph:


"Korematsu was not excluded from the Military Area because of hostility to him or his race. He was excluded because we are at war with the Japanese Empire, because the properly constituted military authorities feared an invasion of our West Coast and felt constrained to take proper security measures, because they decided that the military urgency of the situation demanded that all citizens of Japanese ancestry be segregated from the West Coast temporarily...."


One of the three dissenters, Justice Murphy, had no such moral misgivings: "I dissent, therefore, from this legalization of racism."


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