U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia warned law students Monday evening that the high court could again authorize wartime internment camps like those seen in the U.S. during World War II.
While answering a question at the law school at the University of Hawaii about the 1944 Supreme Court case Korematsu v. United States – which upheld the use of Japanese-American internment camps – Scalia said that though the court’s decision was wrong, “[Y]ou are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again.”
Scalia said the nation’s highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, but something similar could easily happen during a future conflict.
In a 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.
He also cited a Latin expression meaning, “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”
“Well of course Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime Q-and-A session.
“That’s what was going on – the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification, but it is the reality,” he added, according to the Associated Press.
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