Fred Korematsu was an American-born twenty-three-year-old welder of Japanese descent living in the San Francisco Bay area. In May 1942, he was arrested for failing to comply with the order for Japanese Americans to report to internment camps. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Korematsu sued on the grounds that as an American citizen he had a right to live where he pleased. But in a 6-3 decision in Korematsu v. the United States, the Supreme Court ruled that interning Japanese Americans during the war for purposes of "military necessity" was constitutional.
In 1984, a federal court voided Korematsu’s conviction, and in 1998 President Bill Clinton bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on Fred Korematsu.
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