Tuesday, April 3, 2007
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill George R. Ward CrimProf Eric Muller will filed an amicus curiae brief that brings together the painful history of Japanese families interned during World War II and the post 9-11 era that resulted in thousands of male Muslim non-citizens from Arab and South Asian nations being held in custody.
As part of the ongoing Turkmen v. Ashcroft case filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Professor Muller will file the brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York on behalf of the children of Japanese Americans who challenged their World War II internment in the United States Supreme Court in the early 1940's.In the brief, he will argue that the appellate court should reverse a trial court decision holding that the government has nearly limitless power to single out aliens for lengthy detention on the basis of race, religion, and ancestry.
Professor Muller's clients are children of three Japanese Americans who gained unwelcome notoriety when they unsuccessfully challenged the government's racial curfew and detention programs in the United States Supreme Court during World War II.
Professor Muller's clients' interest in the Turkmen v. Ashcroft case is in avoiding the repetition of a tragic episode in American history that is also, for them, painful family history. That history is not the ordeal suffered by their well-known fathers who were American citizens of Japanese ancestry, but rather that suffered by their grandparents ? aliens in the United States at the outbreak of war in December 1941.
Like the grandparents of Professor Muller's clients, the plaintiffs in the matter now before the New York court are also non-citizens.They were, according to Professor Muller and his clients, similarly subjected to a wrongfully prolonged and lawless detention during a national security crisis on account of their race and national origin.The brief argues that the federal trial judge's legal theory for dismissing the Plaintiff's complaint in Turkmen v. Ashcroft is identical to the legal theory that permitted the internment of Japanese aliens during World War II.
It took over forty years for the Congress and the President to acknowledge and apologize for the treatment of the Japanese internees and to offer them compensation.Professor Muller says that he is filing the amicus curiae brief in the hope that the Plaintiffs in Turkmen v. Ashcroft will not have to wait four decades for the justice that his client?s grandparents' generation so belatedly received.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]