Hedges v. Obama

This week, the families of Fred Korematsu, Minoru Yasui, and Gordon Hirabayashi filed an amicus brief with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Hedges v. Obama, a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA).

The amicus brief describes a terrifying parallel to the incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Under the pretense of national security, the NDAA essentially repeats the decisions in the discredited World War II cases of Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui, allowing the government to imprison people without any due process rights for an indefinite time.

The 2012 NDAA authorizes the U.S. military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone, including American citizens on U.S. soil, without a warrant or due process if the military simply suspects them of supporting terrorism. This is exactly what the U.S government did in 1942 to 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, and who spent years in prisons without notice of charges, the right to an attorney, or the right to a trial.

These potential infringements on the constitutional rights of citizens and residents doom us to repeat history and subverts what should have been lessons learned from the wartime imprisonment.

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