75th Anniversary of E.O. 9066 in the Spotlight at Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

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SAN FRANCISCO — Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Dale Minami joined Judge Marilyn Hall Patel (Northern District of California), Judge Mary Schroeder (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) and Karen Korematsu at the recent Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference to discuss Korematsu v. U.S. and the persisting relevance of the government’s malfeasance in the Japanese American incarceration during World War II.

Fred Korematsu and Marilyn Hall Patel, the federal judge who vacated his wartime conviction and issued a finding of government misconduct in his Supreme Court case. (Hokubei Mainichi)

The annual Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference is a prestigious invitation-only forum that includes judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. district courts and lawyers practicing in these courts. This past conference was held July 17-20 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown San Francisco.

The conference included a special program marking the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the presidential directives that led to the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The program focused on the extraordinary search for justice by Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui – who waited four decades to be exonerated of criminal convictions for violating government orders based on the dangers posed by Japanese Americans, claims that were later proven false. Documents admitting their falsity by government lawyers were suppressed and other evidence discounting the danger of Japanese Americans were altered, destroyed or suppressed from Supreme Court review.

In addition to historical accounts, the discussion focused on the imperfect balancing of civil rights and national security during a period of national uncertainty.

Keynote speaker Dale Minami addresses the audience at the 2010 Day of Remembrance program held at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

“The court gave almost complete deference to the military, and they refused to look at any underlying facts in the justification for the incarceration,” said Minami. “The duty of the courts is to judge any decision by any person on constitutional law – nobody is above the Constitution. Those issues are still relevant today, as we well know.”

Judges Patel and Schroeder, who authored the decisions in the Korematsu and Hirabayashi cases, respectively, told poignant stories of how the cases affected them and became some of the most significant rulings in their long and respected careers. Karen Korematsu described the ostracism her father suffered from his own community for challenging the military orders and appealing to the Supreme Court for relief.

Read more about the program in this article: https://www.courthousenews.com/trumps-policies-wwii-internment-linked-9th-circuit-conference/

Japan Society Event

The Japan Society of Northern California has invited Minami to speak at its event on Thursday, Aug. 24, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Dentons law firm, Spear Tower, 1 Market Plaza, San Francisco.

He will share details of the Korematsu coram nobis team’s successful effort in 1983 to overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu, whose defiance of the World War II Japanese American exclusion order led to Korematsu v. United States, one of the most controversial U.S. Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century.

The Korematsu cases remain highly relevant today as the nation wrestles with issues of race, ethnicity and immigration. Earlier this year a Ninth Circuit federal judge referred to the Korematsu case to raise questions about President Trump’s proposed ban on visitors from Muslim-majority countries.

For more information about the Aug. 24 event, visit: www.usajapan.org/event/insights-on-the-fred-korematsu-case-with-dale-minami/

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