Executive Order #9066 Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This use of executive power in time of war was challenged by Fred Korematsu in 1944 in Korematsu v. United States. As this document illustrates, the Court’s majority disagreed with Korematsu’s complaint and let stand the executive order. What reasoning did the court provide in affirming the constitutionality of this executive order?
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive order 9066. This use of executive power in time of war was challenged by Fred Korematsu in 1944 in Korematsu v. United States. At the time, the Supreme Court affirmed increased executive power in time of war, stating in their opinion: “Compulsory exclusion of large groups of citizens from their homes, except under circumstances of direst emergency and peril, is inconsistent with our basic governmental institutions. But when, under conditions of modern warfare, our shores are threatened by hostile forces, the power to protect must be commensurate with the threatened danger.” Executive directives are proclamations, memos, agreements, orders, and signing statements by the president. When based on the authority of the president as derived from the Constitution or other laws, they may have the force and effect of law. However, the Constitution identifies legislative powers, or the power to make laws, as a sole power of Congress, the legislative branch, rather than the president. Thus, the executive directives are implied powers of the president since they are not explicitly stated in the Constitution. Executive directives have been used for managing an executive department, creating new agencies, establishing laws in areas in which Congress has been silent, setting up relief programs in times of crisis, and recruiting for war efforts.
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Executive Order #9066
Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities...
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.
The White House,
February 19, 1942.