Monday, January 27, 2014
The New York Times' Adam Liptak gets his panties twisted over Korematsu, the Supreme Court decision that validated the internment of Japanese-Americans -- many of them citizens -- during World War II. One pretty obvious reason the Court has never flouted stare decisis and junked this outrageous decision is that the court "rules on live controversies, and the mass detention of citizens has not arisen again." That seems like a good reason, and maybe the public learned from its mistake. It's not as if the court has nothing else to do. I don't think the court has ever formally apologized for its antiworker rulings of the 19th century either. Of course, it may have some more outrageous antiworker decisions up its oversized sleeves if the teahadists have their way. Over the years -- and just recently -- RtO has had some harsh things to say about the FBI: basically, that it's run by morons and, when Hoover was chief, by the biggest felon in our history. But in the runup to Korematsu, the FBI in the Territory of Hawaii resisted the panic on the Mainland and the roundup of Japanese and Japanese-Americans was (mostly) avoided here. You just cannot predict where good sense and decency will break out. If the FBI can be right once in 75 years, anybody can.