Legal and Constitutional Phases of the WRA Program. Philip M. Glick, Edwin E. Ferguson, United States Department of the Interior War Relocation Authority.

Legal and Constitutional Phases of the WRA Program

Notes: An explanation of the legal issues surrounding the removal and internment of people of Japanese descent from the West Coast of the US during the Second World War. The initial pages summarize the legal arguments used by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) in the Korematsu case, which ruled that the evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast was legal. However, the war and internment ended before the real issue could be addressed in the courts: It is one thing to tell someone they have to leave a military zone (in this case, the West Coast); it is of much greater constitutional importance to force them into camps.

From this report, it seems that extended internment vexed WRA lawyers much more than the initial evacuation. The best argument that could be mustered was that White America outside of the West Coast did not want Japanese American refugees and therefore it was in everyone's best interest to put the evacuees into camps. Internment camps were necessary "as to avoid violent incidents, public furor, possible retaliation against Americans in Japanese hands, and other evil consequences" (p. 13).

The second section of this report addresses the legal issues of internment camp management, including the applicability of the Geneva Convention, overlapping state, federal, and local jurisdictions; state licensing laws; and even seemingly mundane questions like how could the camp commissaries—which were cooperatives run by the internees—be legally allowed to operate.

The final section describes the administration of the legal department of the WRA.
iv, 59 pages.

Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). A very good copy in wrappers, with abrading to the outer edge of the front cover and pages. With the ownership signature of Philip W. Baker, who worked at the Heart Mountain relocation camp and, in 1943, chaired the Relocation Committee for the WRA which sought to find work and housing for internees outside of the camps. (See memo from D. S. Myer, "The reluctance of center residents to accept offers...", May 15, 1943).

Publication: Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1946.

Item No: #307831

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