From the LA Times, April 1:
Fred Korematsu, the Japanese-American whose court case over his refusal
to be interned during World War II went to the U.S. Supreme Court and
became synonymous with this nation’s agonized debate over civil
liberties during time of war, has died. He was 86.
Korematsu died Wednesday of respiratory illness at his daughter’s
home in the Northern California community of Larkspur, according to his
attorney, Dale Minami.
"He had a very strong will," Minami said of Korematsu. "He was
like our Rosa Parks. He took an unpopular stand at a critical point in
In February 1942, 120,000 U.S. residents of Japanese ancestry —
both citizens and noncitizens — were ordered out of their homes and
into camps following Japan’s Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.
Korematsu did not turn himself in and was arrested, jailed and
convicted of a felony for failing to report for evacuation.
Korematsu was one of several who challenged the constitutionality
of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 authorizing
internment. His case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court and, in
1944, the court upheld the order. But, as was discovered many years
later, the court — and the nation — had been gravely misled about the
potential dangers from Japanese-Americans. Indeed, the Korematsu case
was cited as recently as April 2004. At issue before the Supreme Court
was whether U.S. courts could review challenges to the incarceration of
mostly Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba in
the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Korematsu, then
84, filed a friend-of-the-court brief saying, "The extreme nature of
the government’s position is all too familiar."