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.

NAPABA Announces 2018 President’s Awards Recipients

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is proud to present the 2018 NAPABA President’s Award to Karen Korematsu (Founder & Executive Director, The Fred T. Korematsu Institute) and Dale Minami and Don Tamaki (Partners, Minami Tamaki LLP; members of the Korematsu Coram Nobis legal team) for their work on StopRepeatingHistory.Org, a campaign to educate the public about Japanese American incarceration during WWII and the present-day dangers of similar policies targeting individuals based on race, national origin, or religion. The NAPABA President’s Award is given to NAPABA members who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to NAPABA, the legal community, and the broader Asian Pacific American community.

Karen Korematsu, founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and daughter of the late Fred T. Korematsu, is a leading voice in advocating for civil liberties for all communities, and in 2015, she became NAPABA’s first non-lawyer member. Dale Minami and Dom Tamaki have been involved in significant litigation involving the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other underrepresented groups and served on the pro bono team that reopened the landmark Korematsu v. United States Supreme Court Case, overturning Fred Korematsu’s conviction.

“This year, it is my honor to present the NAPABA President’s Award to Karen Korematsu, Dale Minami, and Don Tamaki for their tireless commitment to the StopRepeatingHistory.Org campaign,” said NAPABA President Pankit J. Doshi. “I applaud their efforts to relate the experiences of Japanese American internment during World War II to the infringement on civil rights and civil liberties that many religious and ethnic minorities face today. Their voices have been critical to ensuring that we as a nation never repeat that dark chapter of our history, including as a result of the travel ban impacting Muslim and immigrant communities,  which NAPABA vehemently opposed. While their work in civil rights for decades has already blazed a trail, their continued efforts to advocate for our community without rest is particularly inspirational in today’s world.”

The 2018 NAPABA President’s Award will be presented at the 2018 NAPABA Convention in Chicago, IL, on Nov. 10, 2018. NAPABA congratulates Karen Korematsu, Dale Minami, and Don Tamaki as the 2018 NAPABA President’s Award recipients.