WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman has compared President Trump’s court battle over the outcome of the presidential election with the wartime plight of Japanese Americans.
Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana posted on Facebook on Dec. 11, “The internment of 120K American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II happened. It was real. It was wrong. It was abhorrent. And it was challenged in court as a violation of constitutional rights.
“The Supreme Court of the United States did not stop it.
“Lessons of history. They were 120 thousand. We are 75 million.
“We, the People… will not concede. We will not take a knee to oppression. 75 million Americans re-elected Donald J. Trump as our president. In the dead of night, the election was corrupted by coordinated massive fraud and by unconstitutional election process manipulation in major cities of key states.
“If you kneel, that’s on you. If your rationale for kneeling is based upon a contemporary general acceptance of unconstitutional oppression and lack of court intervention, then I ask you… if you were a Japanese American in WWII… would you just concede? Would you kneel?
“If your answer is yes, then perhaps you should kneel. You’ll be out of our way.”
The post included a photo of newspapers with this headline: “Ouster of All Japs in California Near.” In February 1942, Executive Order 9066 led to the roundup and incarceration of all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast.
Among the many comments responding to Higgins’ post, some agreed with his position, some argued that the treatment of Japanese Americans was justified, and some agreed that the camps were wrong but said comparisons to the allegations of a stolen election made no sense.
Robert T. Hayashi of Amherst, Mass., wrote, “Please do not use this grossly inaccurate analogy. The incarceration of my family and too many others was an egregious violation of our democratic principles and obviously unconstitutional. So is disenfranchising millions of legitimately cast votes. The only parallel is both wrong sides in your comparison had no evidence to support their destructive and bogus claims. But, that didn’t stop them. Yeah, those are facts.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) tweeted, “There’s no comparison between the human rights abuse of internment that many like my family experienced to Republicans’ efforts to undermine our democracy and overturn the will of the people. Happy to walk you through as to why.”
According to The Hill, Higgins was one of more than 100 Republicans who signed an amicus brief backing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s election lawsuit in the Supreme Court, in which Paxton alleged that Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin unconstitutionally changed election laws to allow for mail-in voting. The court, which includes three Trump appointees, refused to hear the case, saying that Texas had no standing to challenge election laws in other states.
In a statement issued Dec. 17, the JACL said, “The Japanese American Citizens League condemns any attempts to equate the legitimate loss of constitutional rights of 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII to the recent election results, in which all registered voters had the opportunity to cast their votes and be counted, resulting in the election of President-Elect Biden …
“For Japanese Americans, there were absolutely no cases of treason or espionage that might have justified their mass incarceration. Instead, Japanese Americans demonstrated their loyalty to our country and the constitution by standing up in many ways. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, and Military Intelligence Service consisted of Japanese Americans serving their country while many of their family and friends were held, prisoner. They recognized the threat of totalitarianism that the Axis powers represented was a greater threat to our constitution than their own loss of rights.
“Others such as Gordon Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu, and Min Yasui pursued their rights through the courts and in faith to the Constitution, only to fall short before the Supreme Court. They were vindicated years later by the discovery of previously suppressed evidence that there was no military need for incarceration.
“Furthermore, there were thousands who also put their faith in the Constitution and resisted from within the camps with their responses to the so-called ‘loyalty questionnaire.’ The result of answering ‘no’ to either Questions 27 or 28 was additional punishment, as they were once again removed from their incarceration site and transferred to the Tule Lake Segregation Center or imprisoned in federal prisons to be separated from their families and friends.
“Japanese Americans did not ‘take a knee’ in the face of actual constitutional infringements, but the difference was that they were faced with actual constitutional injustice. To suggest that losing an election because more people voted for the opposing candidate is an infringement upon constitutional rights is an insult to the Japanese Americans who did lose their rights as American citizens.
“JACL has reached out to Rep. Higgins and acknowledges that he has expressed an interest in meeting, though he is not available in the immediate future.”