AABANY Reenacts Korematsu v. United States at NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas

On Friday, Nov. 8, during the Plenary Lunch Session at the NAPABA Convention in Austin, Texas, AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team performed “Fred Korematsu and His Fight for Justice,” reenacting Korematsu v. United States. AABANY had performed an earlier version of this reenactment at the NAPABA Convention in Washington, DC, in 2017, to mark the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which sent some 120,000 Japanese American citizens to internment camps without any due process. This year, to mark Fred Korematsu’s 100th birthday, AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team performed an updated script which took into account the developments that occurred since 2017. The Korematsu case was nominally overruled in a footnote by Chief Justice Roberts in Trump v. Hawaii (2018), which upheld the Muslim Travel Ban in part. This reenactment included modifications that featured text from the majority and dissenting opinions in that case, and concluded with words from an Op-Ed written by Fred’s daughter Karen, lamenting that the United States Supreme Court had replaced one bad precedent with another.

This updated Korematsu reenactment was made special by the participation of new cast members, including Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Peggy Nagae, and Hon. Edward Chen, members of the legal team that brought the coram nobis proceeding which overturned the wrongful conviction of Fred Korematsu. Dale, Don, Peggy, and Judge Chen played themselves. Also playing herself was Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, the United States District Court Judge who presided over the case. Karen Korematsu played herself and closed the show with moving and inspiring words from her June 28, 2018 New York Times Op-Ed article.

The 2019 Korematsu reenactment played to an audience of 900 at the NAPABA Convention Friday Plenary Lunch session, and it is easily the largest single audience for any AABANY Trial Reenactment. Judge Chin moderated a panel discussion about this case and its continuing relevance immediately after the lunch session, featuring a panel that included Don Tamaki, Dale Minami, Karen Narasaki, Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel, Hon. Edward Chen and Karen Korematsu.

Thanks to everyone who took part in performing in this historic reenactment, especially those who were part of Fred Korematsu’s Fight for Justice. We are grateful for the leadership of Kathy Hirata Chin and Hon. Denny Chin for leading AABANY’s Trial Reenactment Team. To learn more about AABANY’s Trial Reenactments, visit the reenactments website at reenactments.aabany.org.

AABANY Co-Sponsors: Trial Reenactment of Korematsu v. U.S.

On April 3, 2019, AABANY co-sponsored with Fordham APALSA and the Federal Bar Association a trial reenactment of the historical case, Korematsu v. U.S. in a packed Moot Courtroom at Fordham Law School.

As every seat in the spacious Moot Courtroom filled up and audience members began to stand along the sides, Dean Matthew Diller of Fordham Law School delivered passionate opening remarks. The Dean noted that the reenactment is vital to this time, for we not only need to remember the best of this nation, but also the worst of it. Judge Denny Chin, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and his wife Kathy Hirata Chin played their usual roles of Narrators 1 and 2. The cast of the reenactment consisted of students and faculty from Fordham and a few members of the AABANY Trial Reenactment Team.

Korematsu’s struggles were recounted on a sunny afternoon in April 2019, yet a sense of heaviness that seemed to belong to an older time filled the room. Fred Korematsu was arrested during WWII for his disobedience of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Korematsu to an incarceration camp for being Japanese American. Korematsu spent the rest of his life fighting for justice. The performers’ voices were amplified through microphones, accompanied by PowerPoint slides projected onto the wall on the stage, guiding the audience through Korematsu’s decades-long struggle. When Fred Korematsu exclaimed on the stage, “The Supreme Courts’ decision meant that being an American was not enough — you also have to look like one; otherwise, you may be seen as an enemy of the state,” one cannot help but reflect on the differences and similarities of minority experiences between past and present.

The last part of the reenactment struck a thought-provoking and alarming note when the Korematsu case was overruled in a footnote in the Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. Hawaii, but the decision itself served as justification for the travel ban targeting Muslims, raising the question of whether one injustice was exchanged with another. The reenactment ended with a wave of prolonged and warm applause from the audience.

A Q&A session and a reception followed, ending the night with great food, drinks and company.

We thank Judge Denny Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin for their continuing contributions to AABANY’s reenactment program. We thank Fordham Law School for hosting the event, and Fordham APALSA and the Federal Bar Association for co-sponsoring the reenactment. We thank the volunteer actors for delivering incredible performances. Last but not least, we thank everyone who attended the event for joining us in remembering Fred Korematsu and celebrating his achievements.

For more information on AABANY’s trial reenactment programs, visit our reenactment website at https://reenactments.aabany.org/.

It Can Happen Here! The Fred Korematsu Story – Los Angeles Review of Books

It Can Happen Here! The Fred Korematsu Story – Los Angeles Review of Books

2016 Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellowship

Established by a generous gift from Parkin Lee and
The Rockefeller Group, the NAPABA Law Foundation in partnership with the
Fred T. Korematsu Institute have launched the Fred T. Korematsu Summer
Fellowship program.

The Fred T. Korematsu Summer Fellowship provides a
$6000 scholarship for one law student to gain meaningful legal
experience at a public interest host organization. The Fellowship is
open to all rising 1L and 2L law students at any qualified
host organization in the United States. Deadline for organizations to apply is February 5, 2016.
The application will be available on the
NAPABA website
shortly.

Find out more at http://bit.ly/2016korematsuflwshp