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  1. Filename: A14-MAIN-AJCD0227-AJCD Date/Time created: Feb 26 2014 7:43:01:703PM Username: SPEEDDRIVER03 Thursday, Feb 27, 2014 MAIN 14AAJCD14ACyan Magenta…
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  • 1. Filename: A14-MAIN-AJCD0227-AJCD Date/Time created: Feb 26 2014 7:43:01:703PM Username: SPEEDDRIVER03 Thursday, Feb 27, 2014 MAIN 14AAJCD14ACyan Magenta Yellow Black A14 CREDIBLE. COMPELLING. COMPLETE. THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION THURSDAY, FEB. 27, 2014 14ACyan Magenta Yellow Black AJCD File name: A14-MAIN-AJCD0227-AJCD Date/Time created: Feb 26 2014 7:43:01:703PM Username: 3 TOPIC SCHEDULE Monday Schools Tuesday Transportation Wednesday Regional economy Thursday Leadership Friday Qualityoflife Atlanta Forward ByKarenKorematsu Karen Korematsu, Fred Kore- matsu’s daughter, spoke to the Georgia Asian American & Pa- cific Islander Task Force at its re- cent Fred Korematsu Day event at the state Capitol. She said her parents never spoke of Koremat- su v. the United States or the Jap- anese-American internment, and she first learned of them in high school. He said simply that it hap- pened a long ago, that he felt what he did was right, and the government was wrong. It was that clear and simple. For a couple of years af- ter that, I was kind of afraid to ask my father any more ques- tions because I could just see the pain and the hurt in his eyes. ... He thought maybe, perhaps, my brother and I might be ashamed of him. So he wanted to wait for us to be a little older so we might un- derstand. ... My father, he was never angry, he was never bit- ter. He didn’t blame anybody. He just was waiting. (In 1982, Professor Peter Irons) uncovered evidence of government misconduct that would allow my father’s case to be reopened. It was unbe- lievable. Until that time, I did not know that my father deep down inside had always been looking for someone to help him reopen his case. But he didn’t know how to do that be- cause attorneys cost a lot of money, and he didn’t know any attorneys. If you really believe you are right, and you want not only for yourself but for this coun- try to make a big difference – that’s the story of Fred Ko- rematsu, of one person who could make a difference. ... Not everyone can say that they lived by their principles. But he truly did. So when his con- viction was overturned in 1983, he had done this not only for himself and for the Japanese- American community, but for future generations. And this weight was not only lifted off his shoulders but for all those others who had been incarcer- ated; they had walked around in shame all those years. He realized that educa- tion was important, that in or- der for something like the Jap- anese-American internment not to happen again, he had to keep speaking out. So that’s why he crisscrossed the United States and spoke to whomever invited him. He really wanted to make a difference, and that’s why he received the 1998 Presi- dential Medal of Freedom. ‘One person ... could make a difference’ GUEST COLUMN Karen Korematsu is co-founder and executive director of the Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education. READERS WRITE VEHICLE TAGS Confederate banner is symbol of segregation I am outraged that the state is issuing “vanity” plates that feature the Confederate flag (“Confederate flags fly on some Ga. car tags,” News, Feb. 19). I am a 76-year-old white woman, and I remember the inhumanity of segregation in my Florida hometown and in the rest of the South when I was growing up. This flag has been the banner of the white supremacists for as long as I can remember. Any attempt to rationalize the “stars and bars” as a be- nign symbol of regional pride ignores the ugliness and hor- ror of slavery and the 100 years of oppression that fol- lowed its abolition. CAROLYN GEHL, CANTON MINIMUM WAGE Higher pay more likely to help the economy Why are conservatives al- ways taking the negative spin when it comes to raising the minimum wage? They are far too short-sighted. What happened when large unions held out for higher wages? The country did not go into the tank. Do you think all of these minimum-wage work- ers will stuff their extra wages under the mattress? Immedi- ately, all of their extra money will be put back into the econ- omy in taxes, housing, food, entertainment, etc., because all workers want to raise their standard of living. The end re- sults: Factories will have to produce more, which means they will start to hire more workers. Why is this not a positive change that would offset the negatives that conservatives love to preach about? It’s the same kind of talk that was so prevalent when air bags and higher gas mileage were man- dated for cars. Auto sales have never really suffered because of those mandates, and small businesses and employment will survive an increase in the minimum wage. EARL LITTLE, MABLETON MILITARY Proposed cuts betray all who served nation I watched with great mis- givings the speech by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about cutting our military strength (“Hagel: U.S. military must get smaller,” News, Feb. 25). This is typical of our “big govern- ment” philosophy of turning our backs on those that made us great. I spent the early part of my career working for a railroad and paid into railroad retire- ment at twice the rate of So- cial Security. To accommodate a need to prop up Social Secu- rity, railroad retirement was combined with it, and my ex- pected pension was reduced as a result. Later, I was recruit- ed by the Federal Railroad Ad- ministration for my experi- ence, which resulted in a fur- ther reduction to my benefits due to so called “double dip- ping.” In addition, my Social Security benefit was further reduced by taxing 85 percent of it because of my income. Welcome to the world of big government and broken prom- ises, U.S. military. You, like me, will hardly be able to rec- ognize the country you so self- lessly supported. WILLIAM FLETCHER, PEACHTREE CITY ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| Letterstotheeditorshould be no longerthan 150words and must include a daytime phone numberforverification.Theymay be edited forlength and clarity, and maybe published in print or otherformats.Email submissions are preferred. Email: letters@ajc.com. HowtosubmitanOpinion column: Submissions should be 600words orless.Email columns to Opinion EditorTom Sabulis at tsabulis@ajc.com. Columns submitted to theAJC maybe published,republished and made available in theAJC or otherdatabases and electronic formats. THURSDAY CONVERSATION: LEADERSHIP Earlier this month, members of the Asian-American community gathered at the state Capitol with Gov. Nathan Deal and other officials to observe Fred Korematsu Day — for the man who refused to obey military orders to turn himself in for internment as a Japanese-American during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld his criminal conviction; one writer notes that the decision is dangerous because it still stands. Another details how Korematsu ultimately was vindicated, and the lessons his case teaches us about civil rights and justice. Korematsu’s daughter tells how her late father made a difference. ByAdamLiptak WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s 1944 decision in Kore- matsu v. U.S. was a disaster. Justice Antonin Scalia has ranked Korematsu alongside Dred Scott, the 1857 decision that black slaves were proper- ty and not citizens, as among the court’s most shameful blunders. Justice Stephen G. Breyer has written that it has lost all potency as precedent. But Korematsu has never been overruled. Calls for the Supreme Court to renounce the ruling start- ed almost immediately after it was issued, and have persist- ed for 70 years. The problem for the court is that it needs a proper setting in which to overrule a decision. It rules on live controversies, and the mass detention of citizens has not arisen again. The failure to make a defini- tive statement may also reflect a lack of judicial creativity. The court can say what it likes about earlier rulings. It would cost nothing but ink to say something about Korematsu. The court will soon have a chance to do that in a case concerning a 2012 federal law that authorized the military detention without trial of peo- ple accused of providing sup- port to terrorist organizations. The law left in place “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens.” That would seem to include Korematsu. In urging the Supreme Court to hear their case, Hedg- es v. Obama, those challeng- ing the law asked the justices to consider whether Koremat- su should be overruled. The new case is hardly an ideal vehicle. But Peter H. Irons, a law- yer who discovered evidence of government misconduct in the Korematsu case and lat- er helped its namesake, Fred Korematsu, wipe out his con- viction for remaining in a re- stricted military area, said the new case is an opportunity. He and other lawyers re- cently wrote to Solicitor Gen- eral Donald B. Verrilli Jr. to ask him to join the plaintiffs in asking that Korematsu be overruled. They reminded Verrilli that his predecessor, Acting Solicitor General Neal Kumar Katyal, had in 2011 is- sued a “confession of error” for the actions of govern- ment lawyers in the Koremat- su case. Those lawyers, over the protests of underlings, had twisted and withheld evidence from the Supreme Court. Katyal spoke for the execu- tive branch. Congress has al- ready addressed the matter. In 1982, a congressional com- mission concluded that the in- ternment of Japanese-Amer- icans was “a grave injustice” animated by “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” It added that “the decision in Koremat- su lies overruled in the court of history.” “The Supreme Court is the last branch of government to formally apologize and re- nounce this,” Irons said. He said the Hedges case could provide an opportunity even if the court declined to hear it, as it is not unusual for justices to append statements to or- ders denying review. “It would be a very symbolic gesture on the court’s part, especially if it is joined by a majority of the justices,” Irons said of such a statement. In his dissent in the 1944 Ko- rematsu decision, Justice Rob- ert H. Jackson wrote that the Supreme Court “for all time has validated the principle of racial discrimination in crim- inal procedure and of trans- planting American citizens.” “The principle then lies about like a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any au- thority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need,” he added. Most lawyers and schol- ars think the weapon has long been disarmed as a practical matter. But the view is not uni- versal. “What will we say after an- other terrorist attack?” Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law at Yale, asked in a 2004 es- say. “More precisely, what will the Supreme Court say if Ar- ab-Americans are herded in- to concentration camps? Are we certain any longer that the wartime precedent of Kore- matsu will not be extended to the ‘war on terrorism’?” There are ways for the Su- preme Court to answer those questions. It is one thing to disarm a weapon, and another to destroy it. Adam Liptak is Supreme Court correspondent forThe NewYork Times. Dangerous ruling still stands CIVIL RIGHTS Fred Korematsu received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1998. He had resisted the government’s attempt to intern Japanese-Americans like himself during World War II. ByDaleMinami Dale Minami led the legal team representing Fred Kore- matsu in the successful effort to clear his name. Bonnie Youn, principal of the Youn Law Group and secretary of the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar As- sociation, interviewed Minami on his recent visit to Atlanta. His remarks follow: After Pearl Harbor, all Japa- nese-Americans became sus- pect. And the president is- sued an executive ordered that sent in essence 120,000 Amer- icans of Japanese ancestry to prisons, without trial, with- out hearings, without notice of any charges. Fred Koremat- su was one of the 120,000 Jap- anese-Americans, but he was a bit different. He was one of three men who ... did not re- port to the (internment) camps as he was supposed to. He was arrested. He knew he would get a measure of justice from the United States Supreme Court ... but in a very weak decision (Korematsu v. United States), he lost. ... Basically, the court ruled that your ethnic affilia- tion can predispose you to dis- loyalty if you’re an American of Japanese ancestry. (In 1982) I was in private practice in Oakland, Calif., and I got a call from Professor Peter Irons, who told me he had dis- covered evidence that the Su- preme Court was defrauded in 1944 when it issued the Ko- rematsu decision. ... He pro- duced remarkable notes, let- ters from the government’s own attorneys, telling their su- periors they were telling out- right lies ... about the loyalty of Japanese-Americans, about acts of espionage and sabo- tage that were alleged to have occurred but never occurred. (The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California overturned Korematsu’s con- viction on Nov. 10, 1983.) One person can make a dif- ference in this world by taking a courageous stand. You can make the point also that dis- sent is not the enemy of loyal- ty. ... The most significant les- son perhaps ... is justice is not self-executing. Justice is not a gift. It’s a challenge, that we must continue to fight for these rights. Because the institutions we have, as good as they may be, cannot sustain your rights in a time of crisis. So I think it’s up to us to be activists. It’s up to us to support each oth- er, because when one’s rights go challenged, it’s everybody’s rights that are challenged. ‘We must continue to fight for these rights’ GUEST COLUMN Dale Minami is a San Francisco Bay-area attorney specializing in personal injury law and a partner in the law firm of Minami Tamaki LLP. THURSDAY CONVERSATION: LEADERSHIP Today’s moderator: David Ibata Ina journalismcareerspanning more than three decades, David Ibata haswritten about politics,transportation, urban planning and the environment,and has been a news editor,deputysuburban bureau chiefand Internet producer at the ChicagoTribune before joining theAJC’s breaking news team in 2007.Hewas namedAssistant Editorial Editorin 2012. What is Atlanta Forward? Ourregion is an important part ofa complexworld. On these pages,wewill bringyou awide arrayof viewpoints and insights on the issuesyou’ve told us are most important toyou.We’re committed to bringingyou smartworkbysome ofthe best thinkers in metroAtlanta and beyond.Wewant to involveyou intheconversation,too,soletusknowwhatyouthink.
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