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Korematsu and the Court of History


07-12-2022 • 38 mins

In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the wartime internment of Japanese-Americans. It’s the first time the court applied strict scrutiny to racial discrimination by government. Over the protests of three justices, the Court held in Korematsu v. United States that the Roosevelt Administration met that exacting standard. One of the dissenters lamented, “Racial discrimination … has no justifiable part whatever in our democratic way of life.” Nearly 75 years later, the court would explain that ruling “was gravely wrong the day it was decided” and “has been overruled in the court of history.” What is Korematsu’s legacy and how is it casting an influence on the court today?

Thanks to our guests John Q. Barrett and John Yoo.

To learn more, check out KOREMATSU VERSUS US, a documentary short produced by the Federalist Society that explores the facts, conviction, and following cases surrounding Fred Korematsu and the other 120,000 "relocated" immigrants and citizens during World War II at

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