Law: Bad Landmark

Righting a racial wrong

Fred Korematsu was a name that had lived in constitutional infamy. The Oakland-born steel welder refused to obey a 1942 military order banning all people of Japanese ancestry from San Leandro, Calif. As a result, he was called a "Jap spy" in a newspaper headline, sentenced to five years' probation and removed to a detention camp. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld his conviction and the evacuation order, thereby enshrining his name as a legal landmark. Later, when many began to question the internment of 100,000 Japanese-American citizens, Korematsu vs. United States was known to jurists as a rare...

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