The Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality hosted a major conference Feb. 11, 2012, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Ninth Circuit opinion in the Hirabayashi v. United States coram nobis case.
The conference celebrated Mr. Hirabayashi's courage in resisting military orders that imposed curfews on Japanese Americans and ordered them to report for incarceration; reflect on his 1943 Supreme Court case that upheld his convictions and the extraordinary work of his legal team in reopening of his case nearly 40 years later; and use his case as a springboard to move forward in the struggle for civil rights.
Please visit the Korematsu Center for Law and Equality for further information.
February 11, 2012 Campion Ballroom, Seattle University
Gordon Hirabayashi and the Incarceration of Japanese American During World War II
Hirabayashi v. United States: 1943 and 1987
The Reopening of Hirabayashi v. United States:
Introduction of Judge Mary Schroeder
|noon - 12:30
Lunch and Program
A View from the Academy on the Significance and Present Relevance
The Role of the Lawyer in Public Interest Movements
A Reception Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the
Opening of Exhibit on Mr. Hirabayashi's life and cases
During World War II, Gordon Hirabayashi was a 24-year-old senior at the University of Washington - an American citizen by birth - when, as acts of civil disobedience, he defied a curfew imposed on persons of Japanese ancestry and refused to comply with military orders forcing Japanese Americans to leave the West Coast into concentration camps. He appealed his convictions to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in one of the most infamous cases in American history, held that the curfew order was justified by military necessity and was, therefore, constitutional. A year and a half later, in Korematsu v. United States, the Court relied wholly on its decision in Hirabayashi to uphold the constitutionality of the mass removal of Japanese Americans.
Forty years later, in 1983, represented by a remarkable and dedicated team of lawyers, Mr. Hirabayashi reopened his case, filing a petition for writ of error coram nobis in Seattle, Washington, seeking vacation of his wartime convictions on the ground that the government, during World War II, had suppressed, altered, and destroyed material evidence relevant to the issue of military necessity. In 1986, the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion authored by Judge Mary Schroeder, vacated both Mr. Hirabayashi's curfew and exclusion convictions on proof of the allegations of governmental misconduct.
Hirabayashi v. United States, 828 F.2d 591 (9th Cir. 1987).
Members of the Hirabayashi Team and Friends
Back row: Sharon Sakamoto, Camden Hall, Peter Irons; 2nd row: Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, Rod Kawakami, Michael Leong, Kathryn Bannai; Front row: Karen Kai, Rod Kawakami, Gordon Hirabayashi, Jack Herzig (holding Jared Nagae), Roger Shimizu
Photo courtesy of Stan Shikuma
We wish to thank the following individuals, institutions, and firms that agreed to co-sponsor this event:
Platinum Level Sponsors:
Seattle University School of Law
Asian Bar Association of Washington
Professor Lane R. Hirabayashi, George & Sakaye Aratani Professor and Endowed Chair, Asian American
Studies Center, UCLA
University of Washington School of Law
Silver Level Sponsors:
Minami Tamaki LLP
Keller Rohrback LLP
Ellis, Li & McKinstry PLLC
Graham & Dunn PC
Esther Hirabayashi Furugori
Bronze Level Sponsors:
Sakamoto & Hamamoto LLP
Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality
901 12th Avenue
Sullivan Hall 313
Seattle, WA 98122-1090
Please note: The Korematsu Center will conclude its tenure at Seattle University in June 2024. We are in the process of building a new center for civil rights that will continue this important work. To learn more about those plans and ways that you can support them, please contact Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Affairs Feven Teklu at firstname.lastname@example.org.