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Race, Rights, and Reparations: Law and the Japanese American Incarceration, Third Edition

  • Eric K. Yamamoto
  • Lorraine Bannai
  • Margaret Chon
Series / Aspen Select Series
Teaching Materials

Race, Rights and National Security: Law and the Japanese American Incarceration is both a comprehensive resource and course book that uses the lens of the WWII imprisonment of Japanese Americans to explore the danger posed when the country sacrifices the rule of law in the name of national security. Following an historical overview of the Asian American legal experience as unwanted minorities, the book examines the infamous Supreme Court cases that upheld the orders leading to the mass incarceration and their later reopening in coram nobis proceedings that proved the government lied to the Court. With that foundation, the book explores the continued frightening relevance of those cases, including how racial and religious minorities continue to be harmed in the name of national security and the threat to democracy when courts fail to act as a check on their co-equal branches of government.

New to the Third Edition:

  • An entirely new section, which views the recent targeting of religious minorities through the lens of the Japanese American incarceration, including the Muslim travel ban case of Trump v. Hawaii, which purported to overrule Korematsu v. United States.
  • A continuous inquiry throughout the book regarding the role of courts in reviewing government actions taken in the name of national security, the tensions inherent in identifying that role, the potential cost of excessive court deference, and a proposed method for judicial review of national security-based government actions.
  • Updated text, including revisions that tailor the book’s content to its revised focus on national security, enhanced discussions of early anti-Asian exclusionary laws and Ex Parte Endo; recent events raising parallels to the Japanese American incarceration, such as the incarceration of immigrants and family separation at the southern border and the continued negative stereotyping of Asian Americans.
  • Augmented discussion of ethical rules in relation to misconduct by government lawyers during World War II.

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • A succinct overview of Asian American legal history
  • An overarching narrative that takes the reader from early anti-Asian discriminatory laws to the wartime Japanese American incarceration to today, interweaving carefully contextualized case law with questions, original government and litigation documents, oral histories, commentary, and photographs to stimulate class discussion.
  • A focus on both the legal and non-legal issues surrounding the Japanese American incarceration, so that readers consider how the legal system, the law, and players within the legal system act within a broader milieu of politics, economics, and culture.
  • The ability to understand law and the legal system in a way that is both interdisciplinary and that crosses different areas of law. The book treats subjects such as race relations and critical race theory; constitutional, criminal, and national security law; criminal and civil procedure; professional ethics; evidence; legal history; and lawyering practice. A professor in the area of constitutional law, for example, might excerpt relevant portions of the book to supplement the standard, typically decontextualized case law treatment of the Korematsu and Hirabayashi cases. At the same time, this book explores these and other cases in their historical and political context and addresses the law’s real human impact.
  • Finally, the story of the Japanese American incarceration provides a powerful starting place for students to discuss a range of present-day issues regarding stereotypes and profiling, government restraint on liberties, national protectionism, and civic responsibility. If teaching at its best is about engaging students’ hearts and minds, and provoking stimulating debate, these materials are designed to facilitate just that.
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About the authors
Eric Yamamoto
University of Hawai#39;i, William S. Richardson School of Law

Eric K. Yamamoto is an award-winning, internationally-recognized law professor at the University of Hawai#39;i William S. Richardson School of Law. He is known for his legal work and scholarship on racial justice, with an emphasis on redress for historic injustice. He also specializes in civil procedure and complex litigation. For his teaching, mentoring, scholarship and justice work, in April 2012, he was appointed to a prestigious new professorship: The Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice. Professor Yamamoto has received eight outstanding law teaching awards, including the University of Hawai#39;i#39;s highest award the 2005 Regents Medal for Teaching Excellence and the Society of American Law Teachers#39; nation-wide award as Outstanding Law Teacher for 2006. In 2012 the Consortium of Asian Pacific American Law Professors established the annual ldquo;Professor Eric Yamamoto Emerging Scholar Awardrdquo; to be bestowed each year upon a most promising legal scholar. Professor Yamamoto has also received awards for his work on civil rights and social justice -- most recently the 2009 American Board of Trial Lawyers ldquo;Ha`heordquo; Award (outstanding community law service); the 2008 ldquo;American Courage Awardrdquo; from the Asian American Justice Center (civil rights consortium); the Equal Justice Society#39;s 2007 inaugural ldquo;Scholar Advocate Award;rdquo; the Japanese American Citizens League - Honolulu#39;s 2006 ldquo;Distinguished Public Service Awardrdquo; (with Chris Iijima); and the 2004 Consumer Lawyers ldquo;Patsy Mink Social Justice Award.rdquo; In 1984 Professor Yamamoto served as coram nobis co-counsel to Fred Korematsu in the successful reopening the infamous WWII Japanese American internment case, Korematsu v. U.S. (contributing to congressional reparations). He worked on the legal teams for Filipino American Manuel Fragante in his accent discrimination appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court (Fragante v. City) and for Native Hawaiian Alice Aiwohi in her successful Homelands breach of trust class action resulting in a major state reparations settlement (Ka`ai`ai v. Drake). He also served as procedure consultant on the African American reparations case Alexander v. Oklahoma and the Philippines political torture class action In re Marcos Litigation. His legal work also includes authorship of amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, including Office of Hawaiian Affairs v. HCDCH (Hawaiian lands), Grutter v. Michigan (affirmative action) and Rasul v. Bush (post-911 Guantanamo Bay mass detention), as well as briefs to the Ninth Circuit in Korab v. Hawai`i (Micronesian healthcare) and Doe v. Kamehameha (Native Hawaiian education). Professor Yamamoto has published two books and over seventy book chapters and law review articles. His first book on Interracial Justice (conflict and reconciliation among racial communities) received the Gustavus Meyers Award for Outstanding Books on Social Justice for 2000. His second book, Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment (2nd ed. in progress), co-authored with Chon, Izumi, Kang and Wu, received national attention in light of its relevance to the post-September 11th tension between national security and civil liberties in America.

Lorraine Bannai
Seattle University School of Law

Lorraine Bannai is Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and a Professor of Lawyering Skills at Seattle University School of Law.& After earning her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law, Professor&Bannai&practiced with&what is now the San Francisco firm of Minami Tamaki.& While in practice, she was on the legal team that successfully challenged Fred Korematsu’s conviction for violating military orders removing Japanese Americans from the West Coast during World War II.& She has written and spoken widely on the issue of the wartime incarceration, including testimony before United States Senate Judiciary Committee and presentations before numerous academic and civic institutions such as the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.& Her recent writing includes a biography of Fred Korematsu, emEnduring Conviction: Fred Korematsu and His Quest for Justiceem, published by the University of Washington Press.

Margaret Chon
Seattle University School of Law

Since joining the Seattle University faculty in 1996, Margaret Chon has been a dedicated scholar and teacher of intellectual property and critical theory. She is currently the Donald Lynda Horowitz Professor for the Pursuit of Justice, and formerly Associate Dean for Research. Her current scholarship explores the global governance dimensions of intellectual property, especially their distributional consequences. During the 2011-12 year, she was the Senior Global Emile Noeuml;l Research Fellow in the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law Justice at New York University School of Law. Following graduation from law school in 1986, Chon worked for a year as a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She then clerked for the Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., and practiced intellectual property law with Schnader, Harrison, Segal Lewis in Philadelphia. Immediately prior to her first academic appointment, she served in an administrative clerkship with Chief Judge Dolores K. Sloviter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where she assisted in the revision of the local Third Circuit rules. Throughout her professional career, she has been and continues to be active in various community and professional organizations.

Product Information
Third Edition
Publication date
Copyright Year
Civil Rights / Race and the Law
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