The lesson America never learned from the Internment Camp precedent


There has been a great deal of attention during the recently-concluded election cycle about the supposed racism of President-elect Donald Trump. The talk of a southern border wall and making Mexico pay for it, rapists and murderers trickling in from Mexico, and a Muslim ban have been huge contributing stories this cycle. It was for these reasons that many not only expected the Republican President-elect to fail, but to fail miserably.

Donald Trump is now the President-elect, however.


The transition team is in full swing and, as the Trump Administration begins to take shape, the direction of policy will begin coming together. This could mean a border wall, deportations of illegal immigrants, and a Muslim ban.

But it could also mean far worse than this comes to light.

There is now talk of a Muslim registry to track those who enter the country from certain foreign lands. This has become a cause for alarm among a number of different groups for various reasons. This could lead to invasions of privacy, increased surveillance state, more Orwellian legislation, and institutionalized racism.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach first made waves by suggesting such a database was being considered by the forming Trump Administration. The alarm began to sound louder as Chris Higbie, a former Navy SEAL and Trump supporter, suggested that Japanese Internment Camps create the legal precedent the President-elect needs here.

The problem is Higbie is absolutely correct.


Korematsu v. United States was a 1944 Supreme Court case involving the arrest of Japanese American Fred Korematsu. Korematsu was born to Japanese parents in Oakland, California. Being a born and raised American, he refused to comply with the relocation order on grounds that it violated the Fifth Amendment.

The Supreme Court would ultimately rule against Korematsu in a shocking case. The bench stacked by then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt predictably sided with the President. Roosevelt appointee Justice Hugo Black wrote the decision, which contradicted itself by stating the exclusion order wasn’t racist before proceeding to explain why the decision was based on his race.

A number of precedents were set forth by the internment of the Japanese Americans and the Supreme Court supporting it.

First, the Supreme Court legalized discrimination based on race to an extreme. Wartime paranoia is a legally justifiable reason to disregard the rights of American citizens.

Second, the Supreme Court legalized forced relocation and other extreme measures as a means to handle racist wartime paranoia.

Fred Korematsu was an American citizen. He should have been guaranteed his rights under the Constitution, but they were overridden and the court sided with the abuse of power by the Roosevelt Administration.

Note that legality and morality are separate topics. Just because it is legal does not make it right. But it’s important to understand that the general point advanced by former Navy SEAL Chris Higbie is correct. The legal precedents for these things are real.

Americans need to understand the real threat that wartime poses to our country. It doesn’t only wear down our military, but it breaks down our liberty at home. It is for this reason that the Bill of Rights exists. Whether you’re a Japanese American or a Muslim American, constitutional protections exist to safeguard us from tyrannical paranoia.

Korematsu v. United States needs to be reversed and overturned.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.


  1. It is a hard balancing act I agree. Although the example of the internment camps were imposed during war time, not a relative time of peace. That said, unless we want to end up like Sweden and Germany we need to have a little prudence over who we invite into our country. Some, not all, Muslims have openly declared war and a desire to kill in the West. Should we not take them seriously? Have we not see what they can do? I should say I do make a distinction between the Latinos that want into our country and the Muslims. Latinos for the most part are not intent on harming us, they only want better lives.

  2. The racist scum keep calling trump racist but has NOT shown a single shred of evidence showing him to be so I for one a is extremely tired of the slander and defamation of character

  3. The HUGE difference here is this…Korematsu was an AMERICAN. Trump on the other hand is talking about people coming here that aren’t! And therein lies the difference. We DO have the right to track visitors who come here, and do. As well as other countries who do. I know because I visited Canada. I could only stay for a small amount time and had to leave, then come back after a week or so. Otherwise, they’d hunt me down & deport me. This is EACH country’s right as they are protecting their own people. And if a certain group, fraction or race of people are causing death & destruction, then yes…a country has the right to either VET them thoroughly or not even let them enter. And unfortunately for Muslims…they have a HUGE part of their religious extremists that has decided to use their religious status as a cover for killing. It’s not that the world is just picking them out to discriminate against them….it’s a FACT that their own is using their religion as a cover! So, it’s NOT us doing any such discrimination or being racists, nor singling them out nor doing anything to AMERICANS. We’re just protecting OUR OWN people and country….from NON Americans entering here to kill & destroy!

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