Though widely condemned by scholars and judges, the World War II internment of Japanese Americans has never been formally denounced by the Justice Department—until yesterday. Acting Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal, the top US government courtroom attorney, admitted US misconduct and harshly criticized the actions of one of his predecessors. Franklin D. Roosevelt appointee Charles Fahy deliberately hid a military report from the Supreme Court that stated Japanese Americans were not a threat, Katyal said. As a result, the court upheld the detention of more than 110,000 people, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The Office of Naval Intelligence report concluded that there was no evidence Japanese Americans were acting as spies. But when Fahy defended Roosevelt’s executive order authorizing the forced removal of Japanese Americans from “military areas,” he kept that report from the high court—even though he was warned he was suppressing evidence by two of the government’s civilian lawyers. Katyal, the first Asian American to hold the Solicitor General post, says Fahy’s action "harmed the court, and it harmed Japanese Americans. It harmed our reputation as lawyers and as human beings, and it harmed our commitment to those words on the court's building: Equal Justice Under Law." (Read more solicitor general stories.)