January 01, 2019 Government Power

Arguing Both Sides of the Excesses of Government Power

Two of the darkest chapters in American justice stand as examples of the Supreme Court failing to stand up to the other branches of government.

Richard Dean

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Two of the darkest chapters in 20th-century American justice were Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), upholding the forced assembly of Japanese Americans, and Barenblatt v. United States, 360 U.S. 109 (1959), upholding a contempt citation by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Both cases stand as examples of the Supreme Court failing to stand up to excessive exercises of power by other branches of government.

They also share another interesting similarity: The same lawyers led the arguments in both cases. But while they supported the government’s authority in one case, they vigorously opposed it in the other.

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