100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.
Japanese American Internment
“Ancestry is not a Crime”
Hirabayashi v. United States
320 U.S. 81 (1943)
On the morning of May 16, 1942, Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi arrived at the FBI office in Seattle, Washington. He was there to turn himself in for violating the military orders that required “all persons of Japanese ancestry” to report to an “assembly center” in the Puyallup State Fairground, south of Seattle. All Japanese Americans on the West Coast, some 110,000 in number, were subject to curfew and evacuation orders that were backed by criminal penalties. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, authorizing military officials to issue these orders to protect military [Page 99]bases and defense plants against “espionage and sabotage.” Over the next several ...