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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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The 1944 Korematsu Supreme Court Decision

The 1944 Korematsu Supreme Court Decision

(p.23) 2 The 1944 Korematsu Supreme Court Decision
In the Shadow of Korematsu

Eric K. Yamamoto

Oxford University Press

This chapter unravels the World War II majority and dissenting opinions in Korematsu v. United States, describing the recited factual foundations of the Court’s ruling (along with the dissenters’ sharp counterpoints) and detailing the Court’s announced strict scrutiny standard alongside its actual extremely deferential judicial review. In closely examining the Japanese American internment (exclusion and incarceration) case, it concisely examines the documents and written and oral arguments about military necessity advanced by the government (and accepted by the Court majority), along with Justice Murphy’s factual rejoinders and condemnation of the majority’s complicity in the government’s descent into “the ugly abyss of racism.” It closes by examining Justice Jackson’s Korematsu “loaded weapon” warning, along with contemporary views of the warning’s relevance.

Keywords:   Korematsu, Japanese American incarceration, coram nobis, strict scrutiny, deferential review, military necessity, racism, Justice Murphy, Justice Jackson, “loaded weapon”warning

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