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Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down stay at home order. One compares it to incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII.


Wisconsonites packed bars and restaurants Wednesday night after the State Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Ever’s stay at home orders due to the pandemic.

During oral arguments last week, one of the justices who supported the decision compared the order to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“One of the rationals we’re hearing justifying the secretary’s order in the case is while its a pandemic and there isn’t enough time to promulgate a rule, or have the legislature involved in determining that the details of the scope of the secretary authority,” argued Justice Rebecca Bradley. “I’ll direct your attention to another time in history, the Korematsu Decision, where the court said the need for action is great and time is short and that justified, and I’m quoting, ‘assembling together and placing under guard all those of Japanese ancestry in assembly centers during World War II.’ Could the secretary under this broad allegation of legislative power or legislative-like power order people out of their homes into centers where they are properly socially distanced in order to stop the pandemic?”

Japanese Americans have been outraged by the comparison.

“Justice Bradley’s reference to Korematsu is insensitive and even offensive,” said Norm Mineta of the Japanese American National Museum. “While the shelter in place orders are directed to almost all Americans and residents to keep them safe, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion and economic status, the U.S. government’s World War II exclusion orders were applied only to those of Japanese ancestry. Whereas Americans today are asked to remain in their homes and to suspend their businesses temporarily to avoid close physical contact, those of Japanese ancestry were forcibly removed from their homes, often by armed soldiers.

“The forced removal and mass incarceration stigmatized the entire Japanese American community with false charges of disloyalty. It was a humiliation that lasted long after the war ended. Ultimately, Korematsu himself articulated the heart of his case: “I wanted to know, ‘Was I or was I not an American?’” Nothing in today’s situation equates to Korematsu’s historic case,” the former Secretary of Transportation under President George W Bush said.

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