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Covington Lawyers Attend Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution

February 5, 2018

Covington sponsored the 8th annual Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, which was held at the University of California, Berkeley on January 28, 2018. This year’s topic was “Forced Displacement from Home and Country.” Guest speakers included Karen Korematsu (Fred Korematsu’s daughter and founder of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute), Reyna Grande (award-winning novelist), and Daniel Ellsberg (author and activist). The speeches focused on the importance of educating others about our country’s history, standing up for what is right, and speaking out in the face of injustice. 

Mr. Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu was convicted for remaining in San Leandro, California during World War II, in violation of several military orders excluding U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry from specified locations along the Western seaboard. In 1944, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed his conviction. Forty years later, the Honorable Marilyn Hall Patel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted his petition for writ of coram nobis and vacated his conviction.

Covington has a proud history in connection with this case. Charles Horsky, a former Covington partner, argued on behalf of Mr. Korematsu in the Supreme Court. In 2014, Ben Block and Bill Murray filed an amicus brief in a civil rights suit against the New York Police Department on behalf of Karen, and the children of two other Japanese-Americans who challenged the World War II detention orders, urging the court not to make the same mistakes that the Supreme Court had made.

Covington lawyers Diane Ramirez and Eric Hendrickson attended the event. Allison Mitobe served on the organizing committee, and she and Hannah Perez also volunteered at the event.

Korematsu Day

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