Fred Korematsu was an American-born son of Japanese immigrants. After losing his case against internment, he was sent to a camp in Topaz, Utah for the remainder of the war. Years later, the federal government apologized for internment, and a California judge finally overturned Korematsu’s conviction. In 1998, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Image courtesy of Karen Korematsu and the Fred T. Korematsu Institute
President Franklin Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945) was president of the United States (1933 – 1945) during the majority of World War II. In response to civilian panic and urging from some of his advisors, Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of over 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast.
Justice Hugo Black
Hugo Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was the Supreme Court justice (1937 – 1971) who wrote the majority opinion in Korematsu. Black was President Franklin Roosevelt’s first appointment to the Court and strongly supported his policies. In his opinion for the Court, Black urged deference to the President, Congress, and the military during wartime.
Charles Fahy was the solicitor general of the United States during World War II. During Korematsu’s trial, Fahy kept from the Court a naval intelligence report vouching for the loyalty of Japanese Americans and arguing against internment. Fahy argued instead that Japanese Americans were motivated by “racial solidarity” and should stay in internment camps.