Ex parte Endo

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Ex parte Endo
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued October 12, 1944
Decided December 18, 1944
Full case name Ex parte Mitsuye Endo
Citations 323 U.S. 283 (more)
The government cannot detain a citizen that the government itself concedes is loyal to the United States.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Douglas, joined by unanimous court
Concurrence Murphy
Concurrence Roberts

Ex parte Endo, or Ex parte Mitsuye Endo, 323 U.S. 283 (1944),[1] was a United States Supreme Court decision, handed down on December 18, 1944, the same day as their decision in Korematsu v. United States. In their decision, the Supreme Court ruled that, regardless of whether the United States Government had a right to exclude people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast during World War II, they could not continue to detain a citizen that the government itself conceded was loyal to the United States. This decision helped lead to the re-opening of the West Coast for resettlement by Japanese-American citizens following their internment in camps across the United States during World War II.

Mitsuye Endo, the plaintiff in the case, was evacuated from Sacramento, California, in 1942, pursuant to Executive Order 9066 and was removed to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center located in Modoc County, California. In July 1942, she filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, asking that she be discharged and restored to liberty. That petition was denied by the District Court in July 1943, and an appeal was perfected to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in August 1943.

The court also found as part of this decision that if Congress is found to have ratified by appropriation any part of an executive agency program, the bill doing so must include a specific item referring to that portion of the program.

The unanimous opinion was written by William O. Douglas, with Frank Murphy and Owen Roberts concurring.

It is very difficult to reconcile Endo with Korematsu, which was decided the same day. As Justice Roberts pointed out in his Korematsu dissent, distinguishing the cases required relying on the legal fiction that Korematsu only dealt with the exclusion of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast, not their detention – as though Mr. Korematsu could have gone anywhere else in the United States. In reality, he would have been subjected to the detention found illegal in Endo. In short, Korematsu held that the Government could criminally punish someone for refusing to be illegally imprisoned.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 323 U.S. 283 (Full text of the decision courtesy of Findlaw.com)