Between President Trump’s executive order barring anyone from seven majority-Muslim countries from the United States and his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, a milestone passed that few noticed. Fred Korematsu, who died in 2005, would have celebrated his 98th birthday. Fred Korematsu has an important connection to both of these presidential decisions, and it is one that needs to be considered by the Senate and the Court as they make their respective decisions on whether to confirm Judge Gorsuch and whether to allow the immigration ban to stand.
When President Trump asserts the supremacy of his executive orders, unhampered by the power of “so-called judges” to review his actions, he disregards a foundational truth of U.S. constitutional law: the independence of the judiciary.
It has been three-quarters of a century since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The order, issued just over two months after Japan's surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, gave the U.S. military the ability to designate areas "from which any or all persons may be excluded."
There is a saying, often attributed to Mark Twain, that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.
For many Japanese-Americans, it’s rhyming now, as President Donald Trump continues to push for a halt on refugees and immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries tied to terrorism.
Seventy-five years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, declaring parts of the United States to be military zones from which particular groups of people could be “excluded” for security reasons. The order set the stage for the relocation and internment, beginning the following month, of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom were American citizens living on the West Coast.
When our legal team stood in the courtroom of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on a rainy Nov. 10, 1983, to argue for the overturning of Fred Korematsu’s 40-year-old conviction for failure to obey the military orders directed at Japanese Americans in 1942, we knew that an extraordinary event would be unfolding before us.