Executive Order 9066 was issued in February 1942 by President Roosevelt after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Certain regions of the nation were designated military zones and it required exclusion of all Japanese individuals from those areas. Despite the fact that the order did not specifically mentioned Japanese and Japanese- Americans, it was evident that these people were the target. Korematsu, who had a steady partner and a decent job, was a victim since he had a Japanese ancestry. In order to evade the exclusion, he underwent plastic surgery on his face and convinced people he descended from Mexico. He was not fortunate enough and on May 1942 he was arrested for failing to comply with the orders for evacuation.
Upon receiving permission, American Civil Liberties Union lawyers used Korematsu’s case to fight against the court system and cancel the relocation order. After the United States Supreme Court made the ruling, some lawyers concurred with it and his conviction, while other lawyers expressed their dissented opinions.
The relocation order was constitutional according to Black and Frankfurter. Justice Hugo Black expressed the majority opinion that rejected the argument about discrimination against the plaintiff. Black upheld government’s right to relocate the citizens. He insisted that the petitioner, who was Japanese by descent, did contrary to what the Exclusion Order No. 34 required. With strict scrutiny Black supported the opinion that the restrictions were subject to court. The restrictions were constitutional according to Black. It was necessary to exclude the members of Japanese origin because there might have been existed a number of members who were not loyal. These military findings could not be rejected and they sustained the curfew’s validity that applied to the whole group. According to Black, the petitioner violated the orders for remaining in relocation or an assembly area. The exclusion was a security measure and none of the citizens was allowed to violate it.
According to Justice Frankfurter, by violating the orders and being found on a military area, Korematsu committed an offence. He argued that the President had powers to enable a country wage a war conformed to the constitution’s provisions. The constitution explicitly grants the military right to exercise war power in order to safeguard national security.
Justice Roberts maintained that Korematsu’s right was violated by the exclusion order. Roberts thought that, according to the indisputable facts, there was a clear violation of constitutional rights. Roberts claimed that the order of the court convicted a citizen because of the failure to submit to concentration camp imprisonment. The citizen failed to submit because of his ancestry. There was no evidence of or inquiry into citizen’s disloyalty or his disposition towards the United States. Roberts maintained the citizen, being a resident of California, was a loyal citizen and there existed evidence to support the claim. Roberts maintained that the citizen was faced by two laws and he would violate one by obeying the other.
Justice Murphy also claimed that the orders violated citizen’s rights. Murphy argued that military order was lacking martial law and the order should not have been approved. Murphy believed that it was necessary to have limits on military discretion. Murphy claimed that the order discriminated some individuals by depriving them of their constitutional rights. The citizens were not allowed to move freely, live, and work where they were willing. The exclusion order did not give an adequate reason for not treating Japanese Americans on an individual basis. Murphy revealed that the order had racial discrimination that was not justifiable in a democratic way of life.
Justice Jackson maintained that the program for detaining the citizens of Japanese origin was violation of liberty and not a promulgation of the orders. Jackson argued that the civil court could not enforce any order which violated the Constitution even if the order was a reasonable military authority exercise. By the civil court exercising these orders, Jackson upheld that the court then had ceased to be a civil one and could be viewed as one exercising its duty as a military policy instrument. Jackson claimed that the prisoner should have been discharged since the court was not meant to execute an expedient of the military.
The court ruling was justified. None of the citizens was meant to violate any order of the military. The order was a security measure protecting the West Coast against invasion. The citizens were obliged to obey the order considering it was a law and no one could be above the law. The plaintiff should be convicted because the military orders were in line with the Constitution as it confers the Congress and the President the power to wage a war.