Korematsu v. United States

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Korematsu v. United States
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided December 18, 1944
Appealed from 9th Circuit
Reaffirmed Hirabayashi v. United States
Cited Hirabayashi v. United States
Yasui v. United States
Cited by
Trump v. Hawaii


Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941.

President Franklin Roosevelt had issued Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, to exclude ethnic Japanese people from the general U.S. population.

John DeWitt (1880 - 1962) issued his report calling for Japanese Evacuation in March 1942.

Fred Korematsu (1919 - 2005) refused to leave his home near San Francisco, California.

Procedural History

Korematsu was convicted in a district court for refusing to report to the internment camp in central United States.

Korematsu loses in the 9th Circuit.


Is classification based on Japanese ethnicity a violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the 14th Amendment?


Hugo Black announced on behalf of a 6-3 majority that the Japanese exclusion order is in keeping with the Equal Protection Clause.

Race-based classification survived strict scrutiny in 1944 because of the critical public necessity created as a result of the war between Japan & the United States.


It was important to prevent espionage by ethnic Japanese during World War II.