Minori Yasui v. United States
Decided on June 21, 1943; 320 US 115


I. ISSUES II. CASE SUMMARY III. AMICI CURIAE IV. DECISION V. WIN OR LOSS?
I. ISSUES:

A. Issues Discussed: Racial discrimination, due process

B. Legal Question Presented:

Is Appellant's citizenship relevant in his conviction for violating a curfew order applicable to all persons of Japanese ancestry residing in military areas, pursuant to the Act of Congress of March 21, 1942?

II. CASE SUMMARY:

A. Background:

"This is a companion case to Hirabayashi v. United States...

Appellant, an American-born person of Japanese ancestry, was convicted... for [violating] of a curfew order made applicable to Portland, Oregon, by Public Proclamation No. 3... The validity of the curfew was considered in the Hirabayashi case, and this case presents the same issues. 

[Appellant] was a member of the bar of Oregon, and a second lieutenant in the Army of the United States, Infantry Reserve; he had been employed by the Japanese Consulate in Chicago, but had resigned on December 8, 1941, and immediately offered his services to the military authorities; that he had discussed with an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation the advisability of testing the constitutionality of the curfew; and that when he violated the curfew order he requested that he be arrested so that he could test its constitutionality."

The US Supreme Court sustained the conviction but vacated the judgment of the District Court for resentence.

B. Counsel of Record:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Unavailable Unavailable
C. The Arguments:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Unavailable Unavailable
III. AMICI CURIAE:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Messrs. E. F. Bernard, of Portland, Or., and A. L. Wirin, of Los Angeles, Cal. Mr. Charles Fahy, Sol. Gen., of Washington, D.C., for the United States.
IV. THE SUPREME COURT'S DECISION:

"The district court ruled that the Act of March 21, 1942, was unconstitutional as applied to American citizens, but held that appellant, by reason of his course of conduct, must be deemed to have renounced his American citizenship...

Since we hold, as in the Hirabayashi case, that the curfew order was valid as applied to citizens, it follows that appellant's citizenship was not relevant to the issue tendered by the Government and the conviction must be sustained for the reasons stated in the Hirabayashi case.

But as the sentence of one year's imprisonment - the maximum permitted by the statute - was imposed after the finding that appellant was not a citizen, and as the Government states that it has not and does not now controvert his citizenship, the case is an appropriate one for resentence in the light of these circumstances."

The US Supreme Court sustained the conviction, vacated the judgment and remanded the case "to the district court for resentence of appellant, and to afford that court opportunity to strike its findings as to appellant's loss of United States citizenship."

Justice Vote: 0 Pro vs. 9 Con
(Unanimous Decision for Respondent/Appellee)

  • Stone, H.Con (Wrote majority opinion)
  • Black, H. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Reed, S. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Frankfurter, F. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Douglas, W. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Jackson, R. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Rutledge, W. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Murphy, F. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • Roberts, O. Con (Joined majority opinion)
  • V. A WIN OR LOSS FOR THE ACLU?

    The ACLU, as amicus curiae, urged reversal of the judgment of the district court; the Supreme Court sustained the conviction but vacated the judgment in a 0-9 vote, giving the ACLU an apparent loss.