The AACP Newsletter
Since 1970 Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages July 2004
Newsletter Home Page Event Schedule Editor's Notes Featured Books

At a Glance

Hamdi, Rasul, and Padilla
A report on these latest Supreme Court decisions

Will Fear Deprive You of Your Civil Liberties or Has It Already?
An editorial on the Hamdi, Rasul, and Padilla cases

Resources for finding more information on these cases

Scott Peterson Gets His Day in Court: Shouldn't Everyone?
An editorial on news priorities

Hamdi, Rasul, and Padilla
The Supreme Court Cases Decided on June 28, 2004
(An update to the February 2004 newsletter article -
Will the Supreme Court Legalize Governmental Kidnapping?)
By Emily Mah
Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
Judgement vacated, and case remanded for further proceedings
6 to 3
By far the most complicated of the cases presented here, Hamdi was a US citizen captured in Afghanistan just after September 11th. He was designated an "enemy combatant", and brought back to the United States for detention. The question of whether legal authorization exists for the detention of citizen enemy combatants at all is raised by the Constitutional clause "no citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress,"* requiring express congressional authorization of detentions of this sort.

Yet, Congress has in fact authorized Hamdi's detention, through the post-September 11 Authorization for Use of Military Force. With his father, Hamdi fought for due process, which in effect "affirms the right of trial according to the process and proceedings of the common law." Although designated an enemy combatant, the Court found that "the privilege of citizenship entitles Hamdi to a limited judicial inquiry into his detention" to challenge such a classification and rebut the Government's accusation. The Court ordered Hamdi's release unless (1) criminal proceedings are promptly brought, or (2) Congress has suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

An interesting note to this case was Justice Scalia and Justice Stevens' alliance in forming a dissenting opinion. Justice Scalia and Justice Stevens, who have rarely seem to concur on many of the well know cases, agreed that Hamdi's petition, to have full judicial relief, should have been granted.

Here are some interesting excerpts from Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion:
This case brings into conflict the competing demands of national security and our citizens' constitutional right to personal liberty. Although I share the Court's evident unease as it seeks to reconcile the two, I do not agree with its resolution.

Where the Government accuses a citizen of waging war against it, our constitutional tradition has been to prosecute him in federal court for treason or some other crime. Where the exigencies of war prevent that, the Constitution's Suspension Clause, Art. I, §9, cl. 2, allows Congress to relax the usual protections temporarily. Absent suspension, however, the Executive's assertion of military exigency has not been thought sufficient to permit detention without charge…

The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive…

If the situation demands it, the Executive can ask Congress to authorize suspension of the writ--which can be made subject to whatever conditions Congress deems appropriate, including even the procedural novelties invented by the plurality today. To be sure, suspension is limited by the Constitution to cases of rebellion or invasion. But whether the attacks of September 11, 2001, constitute an "invasion," and whether those attacks still justify suspension several years later, are questions for Congress rather than this Court... If civil rights are to be curtailed during wartime, it must be done openly and democratically, as the Constitution requires, rather than by silent erosion through an opinion of this Court…

The Founders well understood the difficult tradeoff between safety and freedom… The Founders warned us about the risk, and equipped us with a Constitution designed to deal with it.

Many think it not only inevitable but entirely proper that liberty give way to security in times of national crisis--that, at the extremes of military exigency, inter arma silent leges. Whatever the general merits of the view that war silences law or modulates its voice, that view has no place in the interpretation and

application of a Constitution designed precisely to confront war and, in a manner that accords with democratic principles, to accommodate it. Because the Court has proceeded to meet the current emergency in a manner the Constitution does not envision, I respectfully dissent.

Rasul v. Bush
Al Odah v. United States
6 to 3
The petitioners in these cases, 2 Australians and 12 Kuwaitis captured abroad during the hostilities, are being held in military custody at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Naval Base. Since early 2002, the U.S. military has held them, along with approximately 640 other non-Americans captured abroad. The petitioners filed suits under federal law challenging the legality of their detention. They are not nationals of countries at war with the United States, and they deny that they have engaged in or plotted acts of aggression against this country; they have never been afforded access to any tribunal, much less charged with and convicted of wrongdoing; and for more than two years they have been imprisoned in territory over which the United States exercises exclusive jurisdiction and control. These two cases question whether United States courts have jurisdiction to consider the legality of the detention of foreign nationals captured abroad and held at Guantanamo Bay.

The Court of Appeals' earlier decision that aliens detained outside United States sovereign territory may not invoke habeas relief was dramatically reversed by the Supreme Court. Non-U.S. citizens held at the base are entitled to invoke the federal courts' §2241 authority and the District Court must hear the petitioners' claims for judicial relief.

Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense v. Padilla
5 to 4
This case didn't travel far in the Supreme Court, shot down by technicalities before the real issue could even be discussed. The President issued an order to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld designating Padilla an "enemy combatant" and directing that he be detained in military custody.

A Court of Appeals' earlier decision reversed this order, stating that the President did not have the authority to detain Padilla militarily, that neither the President's Commander-in-Chief power nor the AUMF authorizes military detentions of American citizens captured on American soil. In view of that, the court granted the writ of habeas corpus and directed the Secretary to release Padilla from military custody within 30 days. The Bush administration immediately filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court addressed two questions: (1) did Padilla properly file his habeas petition in the Southern District of New York; and (2) did the President possess authority to detain Padilla militarily. The Court held that the habeas petition was not filed correctly, due to jurisdiction and respondent faults, so did not decide on the second question.

Padilla's lawyers have recently re-filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in Charleston, South Carolina. The case is expected to make it way back to the Supreme Court at some future date.

* 18 U. S. C. §4001(a). Section 4001(a) states that "no citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress."

If this clause sounds familiar, that's because it's part of the bill Congress passed in 1971 to repeal the Emergency Detention Act of 1950, 50 U. S. C. §811 et seq., which provided procedures for executive detention, during times of emergency, of individuals deemed likely to engage in espionage or sabotage. The Emergency Detention Act of 1950 was issued to justify the internment of Japanese civilians in World War II. And so we see that we are reliving our past by these monumental court cases, if only by the persistent defending of the repeal.

Will Fear Deprive You of Your Civil Liberties or Has It Already?
Editorial by Emily Mah

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, we have become a nation filled with fear. Once the proud and undisputed leader of the world, we have led them since, contaminating allied nations with the fear of their own vulnerability. And that's not to say we don't have reason to tremble, we definitely do, but should we allow a group or nation's hatred drive us to abandon all sense of civility? To forsake the very principals by which this nation was founded upon, those principals we still claim pride in today?

The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), 115 Stat. 224, created just after September 11th, seeks to do just that, using fear to justify long-established prejudices. The AUMF authorizes the President to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against "nations, organizations, or persons" associated with the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The AUMF plays a major role in the court cases mentioned in this newsletter.

Our government officials were under immense pressure to deliver results, to prove to a frightened nation that they were taking steps to ensure that this would not go unpunished. In doing so they have deprived individuals of their basic civil liberties, of their right to defend themselves against allegations of being "enemy combatants", and of their right not to be held in custody without being charged. Little is known about the circumstances of these individuals imprisonment, so who's to say that these individuals were even associated with the September 11th attacks?

Well, the Supreme Court has something to say, at least in regards to these individuals' right to due process and petition for habeas corpus. For now, it appears that our civil liberties have won out over fear.


Information on the Hamdi, Rasul, and Padilla Cases
Related Historical Cases
Related AACP Newsletter Articles and Editorials

Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Invite us to your events.
July 23-25
F 4:30-10pm
Sa 7am-10pm
Su 8am-12
The 6th Annual KAAN Conference
(Korean Am. Adoptee Adoptive Family Network)
Clarion Hotel
401 E. Millbrae Ave
Millbrae, CA
July 24-25
Sa 1-10pm
Su 11-8pm
Ginza Bazaar & Obon Odori Buddhist Church of SF
San Francisco, CA
Aug. 8-13 Zephyr Point Fellowship Exhibit Sales Zephyr Point
Lake Tahoe, NV
Other Events of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
Aug. 3rd Annual Topaz Pilgrimage Delta, UT
Aug. 10-14 JACL National Conference Honolulu, HI
Aug. 14-15
Sa 10-5pm
Su 10-5pm
Pistahan Festival
Filipino arts, culture and cuisine
Yerba Buena Gardens
San Francisco, CA
Aug. 15
Su 12-2pm
Pistahan Parade Civic Center to
Yerba Buena
San Francisco, CA

Give Us Your Feedback

Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us at -

Editor's Message

Hello everyone. Some of you may have been wondering why you haven't received the AACP newsletter in awhile. We have been pretty busy this past month. We've gone to five events and worked on numerous projects since I've last emailed you.

On top of all this, AACP is planning a move. We will be moving out of our current location on 37th Ave. and moving back to downtown San Mateo. The new address will be 529 East 3rd Ave. - not too far from the new Century 12 Movie Theater. Our 800-telephone number, and web and email addresses will remain the same.

Watch for an announcement about our Grand Opening event on our website and next month's email newsletter.

Once again AACP is planning on creating an Asian American calendar. If you have pictures or would like to correct or add information to the description portion of the calendar. Please email me or come by the store. Oh, by the way, please excuse the mistake on the 2004 August page of the calendar. The description section at the bottom is duplicated from the June page. If you want to see what was suppose to go there, go to ../calendar.htm.

Another project that is in the works is our long awaited section to our website on Japanese Internment books and miscellaneous education materials. You can see an early version of the section by going to ../ibib.htm.

Thank you to all the people that helped on this newsletter, especially Emily Mah, Sophie Wong, Ellen Lee, and Sharon Chan. To all the authors I met this past month, it was a pleasure to meet you and I hope some of our readers had a chance to meet you too.

Leonard Chan
Executive Editor

Scott Peterson Gets His Day in Court
Shouldn't Everyone?

Editorial by Leonard Chan
Did I get your attention? Seems like this is the biggest court case in the news these days. The local news in the San Francisco Bay Area can't keep from talking about it. The obvious conclusion is that you all are still following this case. So why not lead my editorial with a Scott Peterson headline? It was either this or "Space Aliens Advising Bush and Kerry."

Now on to the real topic of my editorial, the subtitle "Shouldn't Everyone?" Here's what I believe will be discussed at schools 30 years from now - the court cases of Hamdi, Rasul, and Padilla. Perhaps it will never get the top billing of trials like a Brown v. The Board of Education or even a Korematsu v. United States. Maybe the Hamdi, Rasul, and Padilla court cases are fated to be seen only as footnote references in some future court cases. But in the grand scheme of things, these court cases have much much more importance than whatever happens to Scott Peterson.

In my February 2004 newsletter article, I posed the provocative question, "Will the Supreme Court Legalize Governmental Kidnapping?" The simple answer is that they did not. While trying to find the right balance between security and civil liberties, the

U.S. Supreme Court has definitively stated that our government cannot lock away people indefinitely without giving them any legal recourse. On the other hand they also reaffirmed and further defined the conditions by which the U.S. government can act to incarcerate individual during emergency situation and times such as now.

Isn't the protection of our liberty more important than what happens in the Scott Peterson murder case? Shouldn't Asian Americans and all Americans be interested in following the debates, in government and our court system, regarding security and civil liberties issues? If you believe so, I ask you all to spend some time learning about the Hamdi, Rasul, Padilla, and other historic court cases. Print out some of the web pages that we link to in this newsletter and the next time you hear something on the Peterson trial, read a little bit about these cases.

Perhaps we can never be 100% sure that acts similar to the Japanese American World War II incarceration will not happen again, but these court cases have given more ammunition to the defenders of our civil liberties. Scott Peterson is getting his day in court, perhaps everyone locked away by our government will too.


The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end August 15, 2004.

Tule Lake Revisited
A Brief History and Guide to the Tule Lake Internment Camp Site

By Barbara Takei and Judy Tachibana
2001, 49 pages, Paperback.

Many have returned to the site of the former incarceration center at Tule Lake only to be bewildered. How could it be that a place so huge, with such a major impact on so many lives, has vanished? What is left of that barbed wire encircled, tar-paper barrack community where 18,000 people lived?

This book is intended to direct visitors to the remains of the site and to foster an understanding of the forces that resulted in the wartime incarceration.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3183, Price $14.95

Blossoms in the Desert
Topaz High School Class of 1945

Edited by Darrell Y. Hamamoto
2003, 252 pages, Paperback.

Blossoms In The Desert - Topaz High Class of 1945 -Our Story in an American Concentration Camp, is the collective effort of members of the Topaz High School Class of 1945, which recounts the experiences of their growing up and receiving their entire high school education from September 1942-June 1945, within the confines of the Topaz Concentration Camp in Utah.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3190, Price $15.00

Japanese Americans of Merced County
A Photographic Journal: 1906 to 1960

By Japanese Americans of Merced County Committee

This beautiful black-and-white photographic journal chronicles the journey of the Issei Pioneers, from their first arrival in California as recruited farm laborers, to their experiences during World War II, and finally, to their return to their communities after the war to rebuild, renew, and continue their lives.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3241, Price $20.00

Keep it Going Pass it On
Poetry inspired by the Manzanar Pilgrimage

By The Manzanar Committee
2004, 47 pages, Paperback.

Keep it Going...Pass it On is a compilation of poetry written for and about the Manzanar camps, which detained more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. These words are collected with one thought in mind—to use the remembrances of those who survived the injustices of the camp expericence to remind present and future generations to keep it going and pass it on...

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3230, Price $12.00

Music for Alice

By Allen Say
2004, 32 pages, Hardback.

A Japanese American farmer recounts her agricultural successes and setbacks and her enduring love of dance. Based on the true life store of Alice Sumida, who with her husband Mark established the largest gladiola bulb farm in the country during the last half of the twentieth century.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3242, Price $17.00

Copyright © 2004 by Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. (a non-profit organization since 1970)
Visit our website at
To unsubscribe simply reply to this email and type "REMOVE" in the subject line.