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Korematsu V. The United States Essay

2148 words - 9 pages

The United States Constitution states “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (Quoted from a transcript of the US Constitution).The main purpose of the U.S Constitution is to establish the basic and equal rights for all citizens of the United States. Belonging to a minority group based on culture, religion or race does not assert that one is unconstitutional. In times of war, evacuation of select minority groups only is NOT constitutional; however, evacuation of ALL US citizens for prescribed military areas is, warranted. In the months immediately following the Pearl Harbor attack the minority group of Japanese Americans, who held the same race as the enemy empire, was given an order, “Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34”, to evacuate their homes in the West Coast. In the case of “Korematsu V. the United States”, Korematsu fought for his constitutional right as an US citizen. Arrested under the Act of Congress Exclusion Order No. 34; he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court justly highlighted key points with regard to war times, which cannot be overlooked; however, the dissenting justices provided compelling support for Korematsu’s constitutional rights, the government’s disguised purpose to segregate and intern every-one of Japanese American descent, and the political mishandling of the Japanese Americans and racial discrimination.
The Supreme Court supported the government by upholding Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34, asserting its creation at the time of war. Mindful of the adversities during war times for all Americans, the Court implied that it is the responsibility of citizens to bear this burden, “We uphold the exclusion order …Not unmindful of the hardships…But hardships are part of war…the burden is always heavier.” (Korematsu, 357).The hardships of one group of citizens seemed to outweigh the infringement of their constitutional rights; however, the Supreme Court ruling made no mention of how the only group of citizens ordered to evacuate by reporting to Assembly Centers, followed by indeterminate confinement to detention camps, was Japanese Americans. “Being an obvious racial discrimination…equal rights protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.” (Korematsu, 362). The events leading to the arrest of Korematsu, as defined by Justice Roberts, clearly represent the intent of the military to evacuate all Japanese Americans into Assembly Centers, “the obvious purpose of the orders…was to drive all Citizens of Japanese Ancestry into Assembly Centers”. (Korematsu, 361). The military acted to protect the nation against espionage...

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