Thursday, March 31, 2005


Fred Korematsu, 1919-2005

Chris Clarke, poster at Orcinus, points out that Fred Korematsu has passed away. The story:
After finally getting his conviction overturned in the early 1980s for opposing internment orders during the war, Korematsu helped win a national apology and reparations for internment camp survivors and their families in 1988.

He was honored by President Clinton in 1998 with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"In the long history of our country's constant search for justice, some names of ordinary citizens stand for millions of souls — Plessy, Brown, Parks," Clinton said at the time. "To that distinguished list today we add the name of Fred Korematsu."
Here's what Korematsu had to say about Michelle Malkin:
But now the old accusations are back. Fox News media personality Michelle Malkin claims that some Japanese Americans were spies during World War II. Based upon her suspicions, Malkin claims the internment of all Japanese Americans was not such a bad idea after all. She goes on to claim that racial profiling of Arab Americans today is justified by the need to fight terrorism. According to Malkin, it is OK to take away an entire ethnic group's civil rights because some individuals are suspect. Malkin argues for reviving the old notion of guilt by association.
And another David Neiwert link:
The lingering shadow that was cast on American law by the Japanese-American internment camps was foreseen in Justice Jackson’s Korematsu dissent, in passages that would have an especially prescient ring after Sept. 11:
Much is said of the danger to liberty from the Army program for deporting and detaining these citizens of Japanese extraction. But a judicial construction of the due process clause that will sustain this order is a far more subtle blow to liberty than the promulgation of the order itself. A military order, however unconstitutional, is not apt to last longer than the military emergency. Even during that period a succeeding commander may revoke it all. But once a judicial opinion rationalizes such an order to show that it conforms to the Constitution, or rather rationalizes the Constitution to show that the Constitution sanctions such an order, the Court for all time has validated the principle of racial discrimination in criminal procedure and of transplanting American citizens. The principle then lies about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.
Update: Eric Muller.