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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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Korematsu’s Chameleonic Deployment

Korematsu’s Chameleonic Deployment

(p.51) 4 Korematsu’s Chameleonic Deployment
In the Shadow of Korematsu

Eric K. Yamamoto

Oxford University Press

This chapter depicts Korematsu’s uncertain legal and political status. It starts with a capsule of 9/11 security measures and charges of excess and abuse. It also surfaces a hidden piece of liberty and security controversies—the philosophy of the noble (or ignoble) lie that enables some officials, ostensibly in good conscience, to dissemble to the courts and public on security matters in justifying what might be otherwise unjustifiable. With this backdrop, the chapter explores clashing contemporary usages of Korematsu. It charts the case’s “Chameleonic Deployment,” starting with policymakers’ volatile rhetoric and reliance upon Korematsu to legitimate sweeping Muslim exclusion and segregation proposals. Then the chapter canvasses Cold War cases citing Korematsu as standing precedent and cases after the Gulf War and into the Obama era clearly relying on Korematsu but without explicit citation. The chapter closes with a recitation of judges’ characterizing Korematsu as a stinging cautionary tale.

Keywords:   Korematsu, chameleonic deployment, standing precedent, cautionary tale, "loaded weapon warning", 9/11, war on terror, civil liberties abuse, “noble lie”, Muslim exclusion

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