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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 1980s Coram Nobis Cases

The 1980s Coram Nobis Cases

(p.37) 3 The 1980s Coram Nobis Cases
In the Shadow of Korematsu

Eric K. Yamamoto

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui coram nobis reopenings of the World War II curfew and exclusion cases. The mid-1980s coram nobis courts made startling findings of egregious unethical misconduct at the government’s highest levels in justifying the curfew, removal, and incarceration. A cache of previously hidden World War II government documents revealed frantic efforts by War and Justice Departments leaders to deliberately mislead the Supreme Court and American public and to alter and fabricate key evidence on national security. The chapter enfolds Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal’s unprecedented 2012 “Confession of Error” acknowledging the World War II solicitor general’s deliberate and prejudicial misrepresentations to the Supreme Court. It closes by highlighting the outcome of pervasive government disinformation on security and court passivity: the judiciary’s legal validation of the political branches’ prolonged deprivation of a vulnerable group’s liberty on an unfounded claim of urgent need.

Keywords:   Korematsu, Hirabayashi, Yasui, coram nobis, legal scandal, national security, cover-up, confession of error, solicitor general, court passivity

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