Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia painted a grim picture of the future when he told students at the University of Hawaii on Monday that a future Supreme Court could very easily uphold the legality of internment camps during wartime. Scalia was talking to a group of law students for a Q&A when he brought up the Supreme Court decision in the case of Korematsu v. United States, which ruled that internment camps set up by the U.S. government during World War II were constitutional.
Scalia said the decision was obviously wrong, but people shouldn’t just assume that the Supreme Court would never dare attempt that kind of decision again.
“Well of course Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again… That’s what was going on – the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification, but it is the reality.”
Scalia also spoke about the Supreme Court defending the rights of the people from the government, saying, “We do need a court that sometimes will say there are individual or group rights that are not being adequately protected by the democratic process.”
[photo via Stephen Masker]
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