- Family removed from Southwest flight over tweet about rude agent, dad says
- Michael Bloomberg thumbs FAA ban, plots course to Israel
- California bans full-contact football practices in off-season
- Thune: Downed fighter jets show more evidence of separatist capabilities
- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
- Chambliss: Downed jet ultimately goes back to Putin
- Perdue strategy: Run against Reid, Obama, Pelosi
- White House: More changes to contraception mandate coming
- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
Solicitor slams WWII internment process
Concealed information could have aided Japanese-Americans
Question of the Day
Nearly 70 years after the Supreme Court upheld the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the government’s top high court lawyer now says one of his predecessors concealed critical information that could have tipped the cases the other way.
In a distinctly 21st century way of acknowledging a serious mistake, acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal posted a remarkable entry on the Justice Department’s blog maintaining the solicitor general at the time, Charles Fahy, acted dishonorably in defending the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.
On Tuesday at the Justice Department, Mr. Katyal told an audience that Fahy’s conduct represented one of the “dark times” in the office of solicitor general. Mr. Katyal was speaking at the department’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month commemorative program.
The solicitor general is often referred to as the “10th justice,” a recognition of the office’s frequent interactions with the Supreme Court and the special trust the justices place in the government lawyer’s arguments.
Fahy did not inform the justices of a key report from the Office of Naval Intelligence that “found that only a small percentage of Japanese-Americans posed a potential security threat, and that the most dangerous were already known or in custody,” Mr. Katyal wrote in the blog.
Fahy, who died in 1979, also neglected to tell the court that information that Japanese-Americans “were using radio transmitters to communicate with enemy submarines off the West Coast had been discredited by the FBI” and the Federal Communications Commission, Mr. Katyal wrote. “And to make matters worse, he relied on gross generalizations about Japanese-Americans, such as that they were disloyal and motivated by ‘racial solidarity.’”
Both convictions were overturned in the 1980s, Congress apologized for the treatment of Japanese-Americans, and the government paid reparations to those who were interned and their heirs.
The information presented by Mr. Katyal is not new, though it is not widely remembered. The federal district judge who overturned Korematsu’s conviction relied on internal government documents that showed that Justice Department lawyers at the time worried about concealing the information from the Supreme Court.
Mr. Irons dug up those documents while researching a book on the internment cases. He remembers being struck by the strong language in a lawyer’s memo calling the damaging assertions about the Japanese-Americans “lies.”
Yet when Fahy stood before the justices, Mr. Irons said, he told them “every sentence, every line and every word” in an intelligence report that already had been debunked.
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq