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In the Shadow of KorematsuDemocratic Liberties and National Security$
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Eric K. Yamamoto

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190878955

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190878955.001.0001

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(p.3) Prologue
In the Shadow of Korematsu

Eric K. Yamamoto

Oxford University Press

This Prologue describes three stories concerning Korematsu. The first is told in late 2015 by U.S. judges. It reaches back to the Supreme Court’s 1944 ruling in Korematsu validating the World War II Japanese American removal and incarceration. And it discerns insights, maybe lessons, for America about fundamental freedoms sacrificed in the name of perceived exigency. The second story starts with Justice Jackson’s loaded weapon warning about expanding Korematsu’s principle to new purposes. In 2014, then-Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia responded to a question about a possible U.S. mass exclusion or roundup of Muslims with a disturbing prophesy. The third story concerns Scalia’s it-could-happen-again prophesy and how the laws fall silent. That story is an amalgam of calls for mass Muslim exclusion and detention by government officials and Republican presidential candidates after the 2015 Paris and San Bernardino attacks—calls that partially coalesced in President Trump’s controversial 2017 exclusion-and-detention executive orders.

Keywords:   Korematsu, Japanese American “internment”, 9/11, war on terror, Trump executive orders, Muslim exclusion, loaded weapon warning, national security, civil liberties

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