Hirabayashi vs United States Case Digest – 320 US 81 (1943)

Hirabayashi vs United States Case Digest

Hirabayashi vs United States Case Digest

In the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt acted to prevent incidents of subversion and espionage from individuals of Japanese descent living in the United States. He issued two executive orders which were quickly enacted into law. One gave the Secretary of War the power to designate certain parts of the country “military areas” and exclude certain persons from them. The second established the War Relocation Authority which had the power to remove, maintain, and supervise persons who were excluded from the military areas. Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi, a student at the University of Washington, was convicted of violating a curfew and relocation order.


Pursuant to EO 9066, promulgated by the President on February 19, 1942, while the US was at war with Japan, the military commander of the Western Defense Command promulgated an order requiring that all persons of Japanese ancestry within a designated military area “be within their place of residence between the hours of 8 PM and 6 am.

Hirabayashi, a US citizen of Japanese ancestry, was convicted for violating the curfew hours.



Whether the promulgation of curfew order was based in unconstitutional delegation of legislative power.


The essentials of legislative function are preserved when Congress provide that a statutory command shall become operative upon ascertainment of basic conclusion of fact by designated representative of the Government. The curfew order satisfies those requirements.

Hence, the order is valid.

The conviction of the appellant is affirmed.

The Court found the President’s orders and the implementation of the curfew to be constitutional. Chief Justice Stone, writing for the unanimous Court, took into account the great importance of military installations and weapons production that occurred on the West Coast and the “solidarity” that individuals of Japanese descent felt with their motherland. 

Hirabayashi vs United States Case Digest

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