Tags: scalia | internment | camps

Scalia: Internment Camps Decision Was Wrong, But Could Happen Again

Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 02:43 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said recently the decision to detain 100,000 Japanese-Americans at internment camps during World War II was wrong, but such a move could happen again in wartime.

Scalia's admission came during a talk at the University of Hawaii. He said upholding the decision was wrong, “But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported.

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In Korematsu v. the United States in 1944, the Supreme Court upheld convictions of University of Washington law student Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu of California for violating an order to report to an internment camp.

Scalia quoted a Latin expression, translated as, "In times of war, the laws fall silent."

“That’s what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot,” Scalia said, according to the Intelligencer. “That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification, but it is reality.”

The convictions later were vacated, and Korematsu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The comments got attention on Twitter from some concerned about the potential for abuse of civil rights.

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