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JACL Rebukes 2020 Wisconsin Justice's Comparisons to Japanese American Experience

In a May 5 hearing before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Justice Rebecca Bradley sought to make comparisons between the state ordered “Safer at Home” guidelines and the mass incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII. JACL rejects this comparison as an insult to Japanese Americans who suffered the unconstitutional injustices of incarceration.

JACL Wisconsin Chapter President Ron Kuramoto states: “I believe Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley poses a false equivalency when she uses the “Safer at Home” policy as a comparison for Executive Order 9066, which forced my parents, extended family, and over 120,000 Japanese Americans out of their homes and into, in some cases, horse stalls at Santa Anita Racetrack in California, then transferred and imprisoned my own and other families for over three years in shoddily-built tarpaper barracks in the desert or other desolate places. Bradley’s hyperbole denigrates my parent's suffering and endurance.”

JACL has previously called for caution in the invocation of historical comparisons to COVID-19 response. Kuramoto adds, “To ask all Wisconsin residents to shelter in their homes for a short, defined period of weeks, as a response to a public health crisis like a pandemic, bears no relation to the intentional, legally unjustifiable thinking that imprisoned my family indefinitely, and forced them to sell-- not suspend-- their businesses. Bradley may believe that she is arguing Constitutional principles, but her claim of a non-existent equivalency distorts the conversation and denigrates the history and experience of Japanese Americans.”

While the impacts of COVID-19 are tremendous and cannot be denied, this is a pain that we are all suffering together, as a nation, in the effort to save lives.

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