Federal Bar Association

This program made possible through the generous support of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP (Breakfast Sponsor), Seattle University School of Law and its Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, the Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washington, and the Law Offices of Rodney L. Kawakami.

The Japanese American Incarceration: Civil Liberties and Upholding the Rule of Law, Then and Now

April 13, 2018 | 3.25 Law and Legal Credits for morning session; 2.75 Law and Legal Credits for afternoon session

An important discussion of the infamous Supreme Court cases that upheld the incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, the coram nobis cases that successfully reopened them, and their haunting present-day relevance.


During World War II, 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were removed from their West Coast homes and incarcerated in desolate camps in the interior U.S. Two-thirds were American citizens. They had committed no crimes; they were incarcerated simply because of their race. Please join us for an important discussion of the infamous Supreme Court cases that upheld that incarceration, the coram nobis cases that successfully reopened them, and their haunting present-day relevance.

Distinguished speakers include Karen Korematsu, daughter of Fred Korematsu, who challenged the wartime orders in Korematsu v. United States and Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, who vacated Mr. Korematsu's conviction.

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Agenda and speakers subject to change

Morning Session

Location: Pigott Building, Pigott Auditorium

8:30-9:00 a.m.

Registration and Coffee Service

Location: Pigott Building, PACCAR Atrium

9:00-9:15 a.m.



Annette Clark, Dean, Seattle University School of Law

Hon. Ricardo Martinez, Chief Judge, US District Court, Western District of Washington

9:15-9:45 a.m.

The Japanese American cases: the wartime cases and their reopening


Lorraine Bannai, Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

9:45-10:30 a.m.

A view from the client in a social justice case


Karen Korematsu,  Founder & Executive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Institute

10:30-10:45 a.m.


10:45-11:30 a.m.

A view from the court


Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel, Judge, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (retired)

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Present-Day Relevance


Robert S. Chang, Excecutive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

12:15 p.m.

Evaluations and Adjourn

Afternoon Session

Location: Sullivan Hall, Room C5

1:00-1:30 p.m.

Registration and Coffee Service

Location: Sullivan Hall, Court-Level Atrium

1:30-2:45 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Hirabayashi coram nobis litigation


Lorraine Bannai, Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

Camden Hall, Camden Hall PLLC

Rod Kawakami, The Law Offices of Rod Kawakami

Sharon Sakamoto, Sharon Sakamoto, PLLC

2:45-3:30 p.m.

Current Events


Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General

3:30-3:45 p.m.


3:45-4:15 p.m.

State of the Courts


Hon. Brian Lynch, Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington

Hon. Ricardo Martinez, Chief Judge, US District Court, Western District of Washington

4:15 p.m.

Evaluations and adjourn

4:15-5:45 p.m.


Location: Sullivan Hall, Court-Level Atrium


Lorraine Bannai, Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

After earning her J.D., Professor Bannai was a partner with the San Francisco firm of Minami, Lew & Tamaki. While in practice, she was part of the legal team in Korematsu v. United States, an action that successfully challenged Mr. Korematsu's conviction for violating military orders removing Japanese Americans from the West Coast during World War II. Prior to joining the Seattle University faculty in 1996, Professor Bannai directed the academic support program at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law; taught at the University of San Francisco, the John F. Kennedy, and the New College of California Schools of Law; and was a visiting associate professor in Western Washington University's Law and Diversity Program.

Robert S. Chang, Excecutive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

Robert S. Chang is a Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality. He has also previously served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. He joined the School of Law from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he was Professor of Law and J. Rex Dibble Fellow. A graduate of Princeton and Duke Universities, he writes primarily in the area of race and interethnic relations. He is the author of "Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law and the Nation-State" (NYU Press 1999), co-editor of "Minority Relations: Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation" (University Press of Mississippi 2017), and more than 50 articles, essays, and chapters published in leading law reviews and books on Critical Race Theory, LatCrit Theory, and Asian American Legal Studies.

He has received numerous recognitions for his scholarship and service. He was the 2009 co-recipient of the Clyde Ferguson Award, given by the Minority Groups Section of the Association of American Law Schools, which is "granted to an outstanding law teacher who in the course of his or her career has achieved excellence in the areas of public service, teaching and scholarship." He became an elected member of the American Law Institute in 2012, and he was the co-recipient of the 2014 Charles A. Goldmark Distinguished Service Award from the Legal Foundation of Washington for his leadership role in a statewide task force on race and the criminal justice system. In addition to co-chairing the task force, he led the research team that produced its Preliminary Report on Race and Washington's Criminal Justice System that was presented to the Washington Supreme Court and was published simultaneously in the Gonzaga Law Review, the Seattle University Law Review, and the Washington Law Review. The Korematsu Center that he founded has also received numerous recognitions for its work.

He is currently serving as co-counsel representing high school students in Tucson who have challenged the constitutionality of an Arizona statute that resulted in the termination of the Mexican American Studies Program in the Tucson Unified School District. That case, after several years and a positive ruling at the Ninth Circuit went to trial in summer 2017, with an order issued in August 2017 finding that the statute had been enacted and enforced in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments. He is also serving as co-counsel in two cases in Alaska challenging the involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and forced psychotropic medication of Native foster children. Students from his Civil Rights Clinic have assisted on these and other cases.

Rod Kawakami

Karen Korematsu, Founder & Executive Director, Fred T. Korematsu Institute

Karen Korematsu is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and the daughter of the late Fred T. Korematsu. In 2009, on the 25th anniversary of the reversal of Fred's WWII U.S. Supreme Court conviction, Karen established the Fred T. Korematsu Institute.

Since her father's passing in 2005, Karen has carried on Fred's legacy as a civil rights advocate, public speaker and public educator. She shares her passion for social justice and education at K-12 public and private schools, colleges and universities, law schools, teachers' conferences and organizations across the country.

One of Karen's most significant accomplishments was working with Assembly Member Warren Furutani to successfully establish in 2011 a perpetual "Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution" for the state of California on January 30. Fred Korematsu is the first Asian American in U.S. history who has been honored with a statewide day.

Karen's work, and her father's legacy, extends to advocating for civil liberties for all communities, and she addresses current issues that draw lessons from the past. She has signed on to amicus briefs in several cases opposing violations of constitutional rights arising after 9/11, including in Odah v. United States, Turkman v. Ashcroft, Hedges v. Obama, and Hassan v. City of New York. She authored the foreword to "Patriot Acts, Narratives of Post-9/11 Injustice" in 2011.

Karen is a lead member the National Advisory Boards of both the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law and the Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. In 2013, she was appointed as an Advisory Member to the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning by the Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, California Supreme Court Chief Justice and Chair of the Judicial Council, and Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. She is a current board member for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC in Washington, D.C., and a former member of the Board of Directors for Marin Ballet and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. In 2015, Karen was invited as the first non-lawyer member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

Ricardo Martinez, Chief Judge, US District Court, Western District of Washington

Judge Ricardo Martinez was born in the small town of Mercedes in Southern Texas. While in Texas, his family worked on in the fields picking cotton, tomatoes and other crops. When he was six, Martinez's family moved to Lynden, Washington, another small farming town. His family was one of the first Latino families that decided to stay in this area of Washington instead of living there seasonally as migrant workers.

Ricardo Martinez earned a BA from the University of Washington in 1975, and his JD in 1980. While attending the University of Washington, he was a member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a De Aztlan (MEChA).

After earning his law degree, Martinez worked for the King County Prosecutor's office. In 1989, Martinez began his career as a judge, serving on the King County Superior Court until 1998, and as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Washington until 2004. He currently serves as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington-- having been nominated by President Bush in 2003 and confirmed by the Senate in 2004.

Marilyn Hall Patel

Judge Marilyn Hall Patel (retired) presided in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. She was Chief District Judge of that jurisdiction from 1997 until 2004, and heard several notable cases during that time.

From 1963 until 1967 she worked as an attorney in private practice in New York City. From 1967 until 1971 she was general counsel for the US Immigration and Naturalization Service in San Francisco. She then returned to private practice in San Francisco (during which time she was counsel for the National Organization for Women and a member of the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund's Board of Directors) before becoming adjunct professor of law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, where she remained until 1976. In 1976 she was appointed to the bench of the Municipal Court for the Oakland-Piedmont Judicial District, a position she held until 1980.

On May 9, 1980, President Jimmy Carter nominated Patel to fill the seat vacated by Lloyd Hudson Burke on the US District Court for Northern California. She was confirmed by the United States Senate in June of that year. She was the Chief District Judge for the Northern District from 1997 until 2004, the first woman to hold the position (as well as the District's first female judge upon her appointment in 1980).

In 1983, she was randomly assigned the case of Fred Korematsu, who had filed a writ of error coram nobis, an obscure legal procedure used to reopen a criminal case after a person has been convicted and served time. After granting repeated requests by government attorneys for continuances, Patel held a hearing on November 10, 1983, where she announced her decision overturning Korematsu's conviction.

Sharon Sakamoto



  General Public not seeking CLE Credit

  • General Public - Free, morning only
  • Law Students - Free, morning only
  • Seattle U Law School Faculty - Free, morning only

General Public

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  Attorneys seeking CLE Credit

  • General registration - $125, morning only
  • Seattle University Alumni - $110, morning only
  • Federal Bar Members - $110, morning only; $110, afternoon only; $195, all day


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