News Releases

The  resolution establishes January 30, 2017,  as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.”

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined her Democratic colleagues in introducing a resolution honoring Fred Korematsu, who challenged the internment of Japanese Americans during World World II, and advocated throughout his life for the civil rights and liberties of all people. In light of what Korematsu stood up against, Senator Murray also denounced President Donald Trump’s recent Executive Order establishing a ban on refugees and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“The legacy of Fred Korematsu and his fight for justice is an inspiration to all of us and a reminder of how important it is that people stand up and fight back against discrimination and oppression,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Washington state is all too familiar with the unjust treatment of Japanese-Americans and the impact it had on our families and communities, and I am proud that Washington state has learned from this history and is now on the front lines fighting back against an Administration once again taking our country down an un-American and unconstitutional path.”

The resolution establishes January 30, 2017, as “Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.”

The resolution is sponsored by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).

A broad coalition of advocacy organizations support the resolution, including the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee & Defending Dissent Foundation, Demand Progress, Free Press Action Fund, Restore the Fourth, The Yemen Peace Project, and Fight for the Future.

In 1942, at the age of 23, Fred Korematsu was arrested for refusing to enter the internment camps for Japanese Americans. After his arrest, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld Executive Order 9066 based on military necessity. After 40 years, on November 10, 1983, Korematsu’s criminal conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco. Korematsu remained a civil rights advocate throughout his life and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Bill Clinton in 1998. He passed away on March 30, 2005 at the age of 86.