74 years ago today the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Korematsu v. United States. This case concerned the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II. In a 6–3 decision, the Court upheld the abhorrent practice of forcing Japanese Americans to relocate to camps.
Today we remember Fred T. Korematsu an under-celebrated national civil rights hero. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the government’s incarceration camps for Japanese Americans. After he was arrested and convicted of defying the government’s order, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled against him, arguing that the incarceration was justified due to military necessity. As Utahns and Americans, we owe it to ourselves to grapple with the difficult parts of our history and to commit to a more positive future.
As we contemplate our history, we must learn from it and seek to implement policies that reflect that values of our community. In the upcoming legislative session, we will be working to introduce legislation to create a statewide day of reflection about the legacy of Japanese American internment.