In 1944, the US Supreme Court decided on the legality of the internment of Japanese-Americans by the United States government during World War II. The court unanimously decided that it is illegal for the government to intern a citizen who is found to be loyal to the United States (Bannai, 153). This was one of the first Supreme Court rulings in which the United States ruled to respect the rights of an un-trusted minority, and therefore the Endo decision was a turning point for human rights in America. Many of the violations to human rights in the United States that predate Ex Parte Endo would have been deemed illegal if they were to occur nowadays, in part due to the Endo decision.
One of these violations to human rights was the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This Act called for the relocation of the Cherokee to Oklahoma, commonly referred to as “The Trail of Tears.” This violated human rights by forcing the Cherokee, who were well assimilated with the white American culture, to leave their homes and walk on foot to a new settlement out west. More than 4,000 of those who were forced to relocate died due to harsh conditions, disease, and exhaustion (Hansen, 1). The main reason for their removal was that white settlers wanted the gold that had recently been discovered on the Cherokee’s land; it was not due to any crime on the part of the Cherokee. If the same event were to happen today, it would be found illegal due the decision made in Endo because it can be said that the Cherokee’s relocation was a form of internment. There was no reason to suspect that any of them were not loyal to the United States. However, this would only be true if they were American citizens (Karst, 1416). Though, one could argue that by taking the Cherokee’s land and forcing them to live in Oklahoma, which is part of the United States, the government in a way forced the Cherokee Indians to become citizens. The decision made in Ex Parte Endo would make forced relocation of this kind both...
Cited: Bannai, Lorraine K. “Ex Parte Endo, 323 U.S. 283 (1944).” Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ed. David S. Tanenhaus. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 152-155. U.S. History In Context. Web. 2 Apr. 2013.
Hansen, Megan. “Following the footsteps of our Cherokee ancestors.” Faces: People, Places, and Cultures Sept. 2010: 38+. General OneFile. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.
KARST, KENNETH L. “Japanese American Cases Hirabayashi v. United States 320 U.S. 81 (1943) Korematsu v. United States 323 U.S. 214 (1944) Ex Parte Endo 323 U.S. 283 (1944).” Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Ed. Leonard W. Levy and Kenneth L. Karst. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. 1415-1417. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Apr. 2013.
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