August 7, 2009
Next on visualizAsian.com: Dale Minami, rock star of AAPI attorneys who took on Supreme Court… and wonThe next interview scheduled for Erin and my visualizAsian.com project is one close to our hearts. The free, live interview on Tuesday, August 25 at 6 PM PT (9 PM ET) will be with with Japanese American attorney Dale Minami. Dale is a rock star within the AAPI community -- in fact, the entire U.S. legal community -- as the lead attorney in Korematsu v United States, the landmark case that cleared the name of Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American who resisted being sent to internment camps during WWII and was sent to prison. A 1944 U.S. Supreme Court's decision established the constitutionality of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. But Dale and a team of young pro-bono lawyers took on the case and in 1983, got Korematsu's conviction overturned. He's most famous for the Korematsu case, which he won on a writ of coram nobis, a legal tactic that forced the court to admit that an error of "fundamental character" had been made in Korematsu's conviction.
Here's a must-see video about Dale made for an award ceremony when he received the UC-Berkeley law school's highest honor:
But Dale has been fighting for the AAPI community all his career. He filed the first class-action lawsuit over employment by AAPIs on behalf of AAPIs with United Pilipinos for Affirmative Action v. California Blue Shield, and he helped the Spokane chapter of the JACL take on Washington State University with a class action suit to establish an Asian American Studies program. He also led a fight against UCLA over tenure that was denied an Asian American professor that revealed the layers of discrimination in the academic community.