Amicus: The Specter of Korematsu

A timely look back at the infamous Supreme Court case that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans.

Listen to Episode 54 of Slate’s Amicus:

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Just a few weeks into the era of President-elect Donald Trump, and already there is a lot of bruising around the edges of the Constitution. The past few weeks have brought talk of Muslim registries, jail time for flag burners, restrictions on voting, and the sweet mystery of the Emoluments Clause. This week, we sit down with U.S. Sen. Chris Coons to discuss how much of this talk we should take seriously and where the true threats to Americans’ constitutional protections lie.


We also speak with Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general of the United States, about the 1944 Supreme Court decision that upheld the internment of Japanese Americans. In 2011, Katyal issued an official apology for the role of one of his predecessors in that case. Korematsu v. United States has been in the news again recently, after one Trump surrogate cited it as a “precedent” for a possible Trump administration program that would require the registration of immigrants from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries.


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Podcast production by Tony Field.