25th Anniversary of the U.S. v. Hirabayashi Coram Nobis Case:

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.

Program Brochure

The complete brochure content distributed during the conference is now available, or view the front cover. 

Program Schedule

The 25th Anniversary of the United States v. Hirabayashi Coram Nobis Case: Its Meaning Then and Its Relevance Now

Draft as of December 1, 2011

February 11, 2012     Campion Ballroom, Seattle University

8:30-9:00 a.m.

Continental breakfast

9:00-9:10 a.m.

Welcome remarks
  Mark Niles, Dean
     Seattle University School of Law
  Professor Robert S. Chang, Executive Director
     Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

9:10-9:20 a.m.

Gordon Hirabayashi and the Incarceration of Japanese American During World  War II
  Tom Ikeda, Densho:  The Japanese American Legacy Project

9:20-9:30 a.m.

Hirabayashi v. United States:  1943 and 1987
  Peter Irons, Emeritus Professor of Political Science
     University of California, San Diego

9:30-10:45 a.m.

The Reopening of Hirabayashi v. United States: 
Reflections by the Team
  Moderator:  Rod Kawakami
  Kathryn Bannai
  Michael Leong
  Roger Shimizu
  Camden Hall
  Karen Narasaki

10:45-11:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m.-noon

Introduction of Judge Mary Schroeder 
Honorable Richard Jones, Federal District Court for
     the Western District of Washington
What Gordon Hirabayashi Taught me About Courage
  The Honorable Mary Schroeder, Ninth Circuit Court of
     Appeals and author of  the court's opinion in
     Hirabayashi v. United States, 828 F2d 591 (9th Cir. 1987)

noon - 12:30

Lunch buffet

12:30-1:15 p.m.

Lunch and Program
Professor Lori Bannai, Director
     Korematsu Center for Law and Equality
Lori Matsukawa
    King5 News, Seattle, Washington
A message from Gordon Hirabayashi's family
Jay Hirabayashi

1:15-2:30 p.m.

A View from the Academy on the Significance and Present Relevance
of Hirabayashi v. United States

Moderator:  Natasha Martin, Associate Dean for Research
   and Faculty Development, SU School of Law
Professor Lane Hirabayashi, Asian American Studies
     University of California, Los Angeles
Professor Natsu Taylor Saito     
     Georgia State University College of Law
Professor Eric Yamamoto
     University of Hawai'i William S. Richardson School of Law
Professor Michael McCann, Political Science
     University of Washington

2:30-2:45 p.m.


2:45-4:00 p.m.

The Role of the Lawyer in Public Interest Movements
Moderator:  Anjana Malhotra
     Korematsu Center Clinical Teaching Fellow
     Seattle University School of Law
Angelica Chazaro
     Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Seattle
David Carlson, Associate Director
     Legal Advocacy for Disability Rights Washington
Anne Lee, Executive Director
     Team Child
Jose Padilla, Executive Director
     California Rural Legal Assistance

4:15-5:30 p.m.

A Reception Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the
Hirabayashi Coram Nobis Case
2nd Floor Gallery, Seattle University School of Law
  Rod Kawakami, Co-Lead Counsel
     Hirabayashi v. U.S. coram nobis case
  Don Tamaki, Korematsu v. U.S.coram nobis case
  Peggy Nagae, Yasui v. U.S. coram nobis case

Opening of Exhibit on Mr. Hirabayashi's life and cases
Law Library, 2nd Floor, Sullivan Hall

About Gordon Hirabayashi

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

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

Event Sponsors

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: 
Union Bank
Sakamoto & Hamamoto LLP