Korematsu v. United States (1944)

Overview

This mini-lesson covers the basics of the Supreme Court’s decision that determined the government acted constitutionally when it detained people of Japanese ancestry inside internment camps during World War II. Students learn what internment camps were, the background behind the government’s decision to detain those of Japanese ancestry, and the reasons the government upheld that decision. They also learn how the issue has re-emerged with regard to those of Middle Eastern descent during the ongoing fight against terrorism. Finally, students learn about the restitution and national apology that was eventually given to those interred during World War II.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the American government’s decision to inter people of Japanese descent during World War II
  • Identify the 5th Amendment right to due process at issue in the case.
  • Identify the main arguments put forth in the case.
  • Describe the Supreme Court’s decision and analysis.
  • Identify the impact of the Court’s decision and ways the issue has re-emerged in modern times.
  • Describe President Ronald Reagan’s national apology to those who were interred.

Teacher Files