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Professor Perspective: The Legacy of Korematsu v. United States in Trump v. Hawaii

Sometimes, to look forward, we need to look back. That’s just what Professor Lawrence Friedman does in his latest blog post for the New England Law Review, examining the legacy of the notorious Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the government-mandated internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. He contrasts this case with Trump vs. Hawaii, which upheld the administration’s travel ban on majority Muslim nations including Iran, Iraq, Libya. You’ll find a preview of Professor Friedman’s post below

More than a few commentators have noted the U.S. Supreme Court’s effort in Trump v. Hawaii, the travel ban case, to put to rest any lingering doubt about the validity of one of the nation’s most notorious judicial precedents, Korematsu v. United States.

In that World War II-era case, the Court upheld the government-mandated internment of Japanese-American citizens. Though the Korematsu court purported to subject the internment order to the most intense judicial scrutiny, in reality it caved to governmental fearmongering and unsupported allegations that the citizens in question posed some kind of national security threat.

To say that Korematsu does not represent the Supreme Court’s finest moment is an understatement. But the circumstances of the case were unique, and the Court has had no occasion since to reconsider the ruling or its precedential value.

Until, that is, it agreed to decide the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s restrictions on entry into the United States by foreign nationals from predominantly Muslim nations…

To keep reading, visit the New England Law Review blog.