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(11:35 AM) Civil Rights Advocate Speaks At Jackson Center

Karen Korematsu, civil rights advocate, speaking at the Robert H. Jackson Center Tuesday. Karen Korematsu is the daughter of Fred Korematsu who challenged the imprisonment in internment camps of Japanese Americans during World War II. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The Korematsu legacy of fighting for civil liberties and the Constitution carries on.

Karen Korematsu, civil rights advocate, spoke Tuesday at the Robert H. Jackson Center to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Korematsu vs. the United States.

Fred Korematsu, Karen’s Korematsu’s father, was American civil rights advocate who objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. After the Imperial Japanese Navy launched its attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the removal of individuals of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast from their homes and their mandatory imprisonment in internment camps, but Korematsu instead challenged the order and became a fugitive. Korematsu believed that it was an unconstitutional infringement of his civil liberty.

In 1944, the Supreme Court decided that Roosevelt and Congress did not stretch their war powers too far by choosing national security over an individual’s rights in a time of war. Supreme Court Justice Jackson wrote the dissenting opinion in the case warning of the danger that this executive power presented through the U.S. War Department’s ability to deprive individual rights in favor of national security in a time of war.

Karen Korematsu carries on her father’s advocacy by being the founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute. In 2009, on the 25th anniversary of the reversal of Korematsu versus the United States Supreme Court decision, Karen Korematsu established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute in San Francisco.

See Wednesday’s edition of The Post-Journal for more.