The Stone Court (1941–46)

Commerce Clause

In which related decision did a divided U.S. Supreme Court uphold the internment of Japanese Americans?

The U.S. Supreme Court again upheld the internment of Japanese Americans in the 1944 decision Korematsu v. United States. However, unlike the unanimous decision in Hirabayashi, three justices dissented in Korematsu. Fred Korematsu had worked at a defense plant in the United States. When the internment orders came, he moved, changed his name, and even had plastic surgery. However, he was charged and convicted with violating the military orders. He was interned in Topaz, Utah. Justice Hugo Black wrote the Court’s majority decision, reasoning that the military authorities’ judgment must be viewed with the perspective that “the need for action was great and the time was short.” Black determined that the military actions were not unreasonable given the grave threat from Japan and the reasonable belief that there were some Japanese Americans who would be loyal to Japan.


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