The following is a list of arguments in the Korematsu v. United States court case. Read through each argument and decide whether it supports Korematsu’s side against internment (K), the United States’ side in favor of internment (US), both sides (BOTH), or neither side (N).
The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states: No person shall…be
deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….
By subjecting Japanese and Japanese Americans to internment as a
group, the United States has denied them due process of law. Proper due
process requires individuals to be proven guilty through individual,
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution states: No State
shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of
Though the 14th Amendment refers to states, it also applies
(through the Fifth Amendment) to the federal government. The government
is obliged to provide equal rights; if the rights of a particular
racial group are taken away, the reason for doing so must pass the
highest scrutiny possible.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President
the power as commander in chief of the military. Commanding the
military includes issuing orders as necessary to help the military carry
out its duties to protect the nation. Such orders include Executive
Order 9066, which expressly allowed restrictions on the movement and
presence of groups of people in certain areas of the country.
German Americans and Italian Americans were treated differently
from the Japanese during World War II. Though some were interned and
suffered discriminatory treatment, they were not gathered up en masse without hearing or evidence as the Japanese were.
It is impossible for the Supreme Court to confirm or deny the
military authorities’ claim that it was impossible to quickly separate
out disloyal and dangerous Japanese or Japanese Americans.
In Hirabayashi v. United States (1943), the
Supreme Court supported the conviction of a Japanese American who
violated a curfew order imposed through the same presidential Executive
Order and Congressional Act at issue in this case.
When our shores are threatened by hostile forces, the power to protect should be commensurate with the threatened danger.
No Japanese or Japanese American had been accused of or
convicted for espionage or sabotage in the months between the attack on
Pearl Harbor and the beginning of internment.
Approximately 5,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry
refused to swear unqualified allegiance to the United States and to
renounce allegiance to the Japanese Emperor.
In the American legal system, “guilt is personal and not
inheritable.” There was no evidence that Fred Korematsu engaged in any
subversive or conspiratorial activity.
The armed services must protect a society, not merely its Constitution.
We may not be able to confine military actions to the
boundaries of the Constitution, but that does not mean that the
Constitution should be distorted to approve of all the military deems
If the Supreme Court issues a ruling supporting racial
discrimination in this case, it becomes a principle for supporting
racial discrimination in any case where an urgent need is claimed.
Under the Alien Enemy Act of 1798, which remains in
effect today, the U.S. may apprehend, intern and otherwise restrict the
freedom of “alien enemies” upon declaration of war or actual, attempted
or threatened invasion by a foreign nation.