Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=881099
 
 

Footnotes (374)



 


 



The Japanese American Cases - A Bigger Disaster than We Realized


Eric L. Muller


University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law


Howard Law Review, 2006
UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-2

Abstract:     
Sixty-one years ago, Eugene V. Rostow published the first major academic article on the Japanese American internment of World War II. The article's title left little doubt about Rostow's view of the Supreme Court's decisions in Hirabayashi v. United States (1943) and Korematsu v. United States (1944): The Japanese American Cases - A Disaster. Rostow's claim was that these two cases were a substantive disaster of constitutional doctrine - a fundamentally mistaken endorsement of a repressive military program.

Rostow's conceptualization of the disaster of the Japanese American cases continues to define - and, in a sense, to confine - our view of the legal history of this wartime period. There are, in fact, many more wartime Japanese American cases to remember than Korematsu and Hirabayashi. These two cases were really just one small part of a much broader program of litigation in which the government sought both to capitalize on and to reinforce the image of Japanese Americans as disloyal subversives.

This Article broadens Rostow's assessment of the Japanese American cases as a disaster by recasting both of those terms. It widens the focus of the term Japanese American cases to include stories of the many wartime Japanese American cases that the literature has slighted or forgotten. This broader view reveals that the Japanese American cases of World War II were a disaster of a different sort: a litigative debacle, in which an astonishing number of cases ended in acquittals, dismissals, stern judicial rebukes, and other repudiations of the government's legal and factual positions. The Article concludes that the overall litigative project was a misadventure in using the law - especially the criminal law - to tar a racial group with the badges of disloyalty during wartime.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 71

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: February 6, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Muller, Eric L., The Japanese American Cases - A Bigger Disaster than We Realized. Howard Law Review, 2006; UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-2. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=881099

Contact Information

Eric L. Muller (Contact Author)
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law ( email )
Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-962-7067 (Phone)
919-962-1277 (Fax)

Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,558
Downloads: 316
Download Rank: 53,745
Footnotes:  374

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.640 seconds