The Supreme Court: From Japanese American Incarceration to the Muslim Ban

April 16, 2018


On April 25, 2018, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Muslim ban case, the legal challenge to the Trump administration’s latest anti-Muslim immigration order. Sadly, the Muslim ban is not the first case the Supreme Court has decided of this kind. Over 75 years ago, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 and forced the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans. Like the Muslim Ban, Roosevelt took this action by executive order under the guise of national security and used national origin to trample on constitutional rights, discriminate and scapegoat, and forever alter the lives of Japanese Americans.

One of the individuals who refused to go to the government’s incarceration camps was Fred T. Korematsu, who was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order. In 1944, Korematsu v. United States was heard by the Supreme Court when Fred T. Korematsu appealed his case. In a legal tragedy, the Supreme Court ruled against him, ruling that incarceration was justified due to military necessity. Nearly 40 years later, Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in a federal court in California based upon new evidence of governmental misconduct, which proved that Japanese Americans had committed no acts of treason to justify their incarceration.

Now, as the Supreme Court prepares to decide the constitutionality of the Muslim ban, they have a chance to get it right.

Please join us to learn about Fred T. Korematsu’s story, its similarities to the Muslim ban, and learn how to take action on April 25th when the Supreme Court hears this case.


This event is in collaboration with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.



Karen Korematsu @Korematsu - Fred T. Korematsu Institute
Karen Korematsu is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and the daughter of the late Mr. Korematsu. Karen established the Institute in 2009, on the 25th anniversary of the reversal of Fred’s WWII U.S. Supreme Court conviction. Since his passing, Karen has carried on Fred’s legacy as a civil rights advocate, public speaker and educator. She advocates for civil liberties for all communities, and addresses current issues that draw lessons from the past.

Dan Mach @ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union
Dan Mach is the Director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. He leads a wide range of religious-liberty litigation, advocacy, and public education efforts nationwide, and often writes, teaches, and speaks publicly on religious freedom issues. Dan currently serves as an adjunct professor of law at the George Washington University Law School, focusing on constitutional law and religious liberty. Prior to his work at the ACLU, Dan was a partner in the Washington, DC office of Jenner & Block, where he specialized in First Amendment law.

Adam Bates @AdamTaylorBates - International Refugee Assistance Project
Adam Bates is an IRAP Policy Counsel. Before coming to IRAP, Adam spent three years working on criminal justice and civil liberties issues at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. His work there focused on police surveillance, police militarization, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror. Adam received a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and an M.A. in Middle Eastern and North African Studies from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School. Prior to law school, Adam earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Miami, where he also walked on to the Hurricanes football team.

Abrar Omeish @Abrar Omeish 
Abrar Omeish is passionate about public service and was recently a candidate for the Fairfax County School Board At-Large seat. Abrar holds an intensive B.A. in political science and a B.A. in modern Middle Eastern Studies from Yale University.

Avideh Moussavian @AvidehNILC - National Immigration Law Center
Avideh Moussavian is a Senior Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. Her advocacy at NILC focuses on reducing the vulnerability of low-income immigrants to deportation on account of their race, class, or gender. She has previously worked on immigration reform advocacy and state and local enforcement issues at the New York Immigration Coalition and directly represented immigrant victims of gender-based violence at Sanctuary for Families in New York City, including those in detention. This event is in collaboration with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.




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