The Stone Court (1941–46)

Commerce Clause

CourtSpeak: Korematsu v.
United States
Japanese American Internment Case

Justice Owen J. Roberts (dissenting): “On the contrary it is a case of convicting a citizen as a punishment for not submitting to imprisonment in a concentration camp, based on his ancestry, and solely because of his ancestry, without evidence or inquiry concerning his loyalty and good disposition towards the United States. If this be a correct statement of the facts disclosed by this record. I need hardly labor the conclusion that Constitutional rights have been violated.”

Frank Murphy (dissenting): “Yet no reasonable relation to an immediate, imminent and impending public danger is evident to support this racial restriction which is one of the most sweeping and complete deprivations of constitutional rights in the history of this nation in the absence of martial law…. Racial discrimination in any form and in any degree has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life.”

Robert Jackson (dissenting): “A military commander may overstep the bounds of constitutionality, and it is an incident. But if we review and approve, that passing incident becomes the doctrine of the Constitution. There it has a generative power of its own, and all that it creates will be in its own image. Nothing better illustrates this danger than does the Court’s opinion in this case.”


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