Korematsu v. United States Case Brief

Summary of Korematsu v. United States

Facts: Executive Order 9066 gave authority to exclude any persons from areas on the west coast in order to insure against sabotage. Under this authority, everyone of Japanese ancestry was moved from their homes on the West Coast to “relocation centers".

Procedural history: P was convicted in District Court for remaining in California despite orders to leave.

Issue: Does forced relocation (applied only to people of Japanese ancestry) violate the EPC?

Holding: No, it doesn’t violate the EPC.

Reasoning: All legal restrictions which restrict rights of a racial group are immediately suspect. They are subject to the most rigid scrutiny. But, sometimes pressing public necessity can justify the existence of such restrictions.

Exclusion of people of Japanese ancestry from the west coast when we are in a war with Japan has a definite and close relationship to the prevention of sabotage.

Judgment: Affirmed.

Murphey dissent: This majority opinion upholding the rationality of excluding all persons of Japanese descent for purposes of preventing sabotage must necessarily rely on the assumption that all persons of Japanese descent have a tendency for sabotage. In this case, there is no question about P’s loyalty to the US. How is it rational to relocate him? Further, not one person of Japanese ancestry was ever convicted of sabotage.

Jackson dissent: The court has no way of knowing that the law has a reasonable basis in necessity. Doesn’t want to make a decision about how necessary the law is. Is worried that once the Court sanctions such a law allowing racial discrimination, this will bring problems in the future.

Test: most rigid scrutiny (basically, strict scrutiny). Needs to show pressing public necessity (CSI). The pressing public necessity needs to have a “definite and close relationship" to the racial classification. (time of war sounds like necessity- but is there a necessity to do the thing that was done. Well, yes, we were at war with japan). EVEN THOUGH it’s a federal case, they’re still going to use the strict scrutiny test as if they were applying the 14th amendment.



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