Thursday, August 8 | 2:00 pm – 3:45 pm (Reception to follow)
And Then They Came for Us: The Perils of Silence
The rule of law can be fragile, and lawyers have a particular obligation to speak out when governments enact laws that violate human and civil rights. That is what happened when the U.S. government intentionally misrepresented the dangers posed by Japanese Americans during World War II – the justification presented to the U.S. Supreme Court – and 120,000 Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps in the western interior of the United States. That is also what happened in Germany when the Nazis enacted a series of laws designating German Jews as less than full citizens and implemented occupational bans that over five years barred all Jewish lawyers and jurists from the legal profession. By addressing these two episodes of gross injustice in Second World War era, this program provides a searing reminder that lawyers cannot remain silent when democracy and the rule of law are under attack.
The program will include a screening of the ABA Silver Gavel award-winning documentary, And Then They Came for Us, which tells the story of these Japanese Americans through the lens of photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, whose photographs of the incarceration were banned until last year. The documentary also follows the case of Fred Korematsu, who was tried and convicted for refusing to be detained and whose conviction was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court years later.
The program will also include a discussion of the role of lawyers in undermining the rule of law in Germany, and how international lawyers worked to restore it through the Nuremberg trials. This story is told by the ABA Center for Human Rights book and traveling exhibit, “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich,” produced in conjunction with the German Federal Bar.
Ruthe Catolico Ashley, Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Public Education. Vallejo, CA
Lorraine Bannai, Professor of Law and Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA and member of the Korematsu Coram Nobis team
John Q. Barrett, professor of law at St. John's University in New York City and the Elizabeth S. Lenna Fellow and a board member at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York
Dale Minami, Minami Tamaki LLP, San Francisco, CA and Lead Counsel for Fred Korematsu in the Korematsu Coram Nobis case
And Then They Came For Us - Exhibition
January 18 - September 1, 2019
The Presidio, San Francisco