A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor: The Importance of the Japanese Internment Cases


After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the U.S. government sent people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast to internment camps. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the government’s right to restrict the liberty of these citizens and noncitizens in two cases: Korematsu v. U.S. and Hirabayashi v. U.S.

Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy discuss the balance that the Court tries to strike between individual rights and national security during wartime in light of the Constitution’s provision that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”

Closed captions available in English.