Korematsu Coram Nobis Legal Team in Hawai’i: The Internment Litigation and Current Implications

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 (All day)

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Moot Court Room


  • Dale Minami
    Partner, Minami Tamaki LLP
  • Ed Chen
    U.S. District Court Judge and January Term Instructor
  • Leigh-Ann Miyasato
    President, Entrepreneurs Foundation of Hawai‘i
  • Eric K. Yamamoto
    Professor of Law, William S. Richardson School of Law

Please join us in a special “January Term” panel discussion on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at the William S. Richardson School of Law Moot Courtroom, featuring members of the 1983 Korematsu Coram Nobis Legal Team - Dale Minami, The Honorable Ed Chen, Leigh-Ann Miyasato, and Prof. Eric K. Yamamoto – as they discuss the legacy of the Korematsu case and its impetus for future social healing through justice for the betterment of all.

The writ of error coram nobis is extremely limited in application, but it has been used to correct a court’s fundamental error or to reverse a manifest injustice in situations where an individual has previously been convicted and released. In January 1983, a pro bono legal team filed a petition for a writ of coram nobis in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of Fred T. Korematsu. The writ sought to overturn Korematsu’s 40-year old conviction for refusing to report to the government’s “assembly centers” for Japanese Americans during World War II. The coram nobis team argued that specific fundamental errors at the Supreme Court level had been committed resulting in Korematsu’s wrongful conviction.

After litigating for nearly a year, Fred Korematsu and his legal team emerged triumphant on November 10, 1983, when the writ was granted, overturning the conviction. The decision influenced petitions for writ of error coram nobis in the United States District Courts of Oregon and Washington, where Minoru Yasui and Gordon K. Hirabayashi successfully filed to have their wrongful convictions vacated. The coram nobis decisions in these cases impaired the precedent of the original Supreme Court cases, which validated the curfew and exclusion orders. In addition, the decisions influenced Congress’ passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. (excerpted from the Korematsu Institute website.)

We hope you will join us at this very special opportunity to hear from members of this historic group of lawyers about the significance of the Korematsu decision and its impact on us today. An announcement for this event is attached. The room has been changed to the Moot Courtroom. You are encouraged to invite others to join us. Light refreshments to be provided.