Overturning of Japanese American incarceration marks 25th anniversary

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by LORI MATSUKAWA / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 23 at 9:38 PM

SEATTLE -- What a walk through memory lane. Pulling out this vintage video made me realize how long I've been working here at KING 5, reporting news that has now become history.

Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of a constitutional victory. During World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the government's decision to incarcerate 110,000 Japanese Americans. Years later, a scrappy group of young Seattle lawyers volunteered to challenge the highest court in the land - and won!

On September 24, 1988 the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wiped away the last legal defenses of the forced incarceration in the case of Hirabayashi v. United States.

The story begins in Seattle where Gordon Hirabayashi was a student at the University of Washington. It continues in Seattle, where war hysteria generated first a curfew,  then mass incarceration of Japanese Americans. Seattle was where Gordon's legal supporters fought his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And fittingly, it was in Seattle that his young legal volunteers brought his case before a federal judge for correction.

 

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