Acting Solicitor Gen. Neal Katyal, in an extraordinary admission of misconduct, took to task one of his predecessors for hiding evidence and deceiving the Supreme Court.
The misconduct took place 'in two of the major cases in its history: the World War II rulings that upheld the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans.' 'Scholars and judges have denounced the World War II rulings as among the worst in the court's history, but neither the high court nor the Justice Department had formally admitted they were mistaken — until now. "It seemed obvious to me we had made a mistake. The duty of candor wasn't met," Katyal said.'
The WWII internment of Japanese-Americans
authorized by President Roosevelt, was one of the most famous cases of abuse stemming from suspension of habeas corpus.
'Former Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, who represented the US Department of Justice in the "relocation," writes in the epilogue to the 1992 book Executive Order 9066
: The Internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans:
The truth is—as this deplorable experience proves—that constitutions and laws are not sufficient of themselves...Despite the unequivocal language of the Constitution of the United States that the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, and despite the Fifth Amendment's command that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, both of these constitutional safeguards were denied by military action under Executive Order 9066.'
'Katyal said Tuesday that Charles Fahy
' 'deliberately hid from the court a report from the Office of Naval Intelligence that concluded the Japanese Americans on the West Coast did not pose a military threat. The report indicated there was no evidence Japanese Americans were disloyal, were acting as spies or were signaling enemy submarines, as some at the time had suggested.'
, 41, who is of Indian American heritage and is the first Asian American to hold the post, said he decided "to set the record straight" Tuesday at a Justice Department event honoring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
He said that two of the government's civilian lawyers had told Fahy it would be "suppression of evidence" to keep the naval intelligence report from the high court.
"What does Fahy do? Nothing," Katyal said.'
'A year ago, Katyal became the acting solicitor general when Elena Kagan was nominated to the Supreme Court. He had made a name for himself in legal circles in 2006 when took on the case of Salim Hamdan, who faced a military trial at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He won in the Supreme Court, which struck down the military commissions because they had not been authorized by Congress.
But that victory in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld earned him some critics in the Senate — and it may have cost him the chance to win Senate confirmation as solicitor general. This year, President Obama passed over Katyal and nominated Deputy White House Counsel Donald Verrilli Jr. for the post. Katyal said he would step down when the Senate officially confirmed Verrilli.'