Length: 36 minutes
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the U.S. government sent individuals of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast to internment camps. The Hirabayashi and Korematsu cases challenged the government’s right to restrict the liberty of this population of citizens and noncitizens. The Supreme Court upheld the government’s actions in each case. Three Supreme Court Justices discuss these landmark cases—specifically, the balance the court tries to strike between individual rights and national security in times of war in light of the Constitution’s provision that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Photographs from U.S. War Relocation Authority,
Farm Security Administration and
Office of War Information Collection
(Library of Congress).
The Constitution in Context: Constitutional scholars and legal experts discuss the issues in the Japanese internment cases as raised by the Justices.
Additional Resources from the Library of Congress
Experiencing the War: Japanese-Americans' accounts