By the time the Japanese-American cases reached the Supreme Court the crisis which was supposed to justify the government’s action had passed. The Court, according to Rostow, faced two issues: should it automatically accept the judgment of the military as to the need for the relocation program, or should it require a judicial investigation of the question? Was there factual support for the military judgment that the course of war required the exclusion and confinement of the Japanese American population of the West Coast? Clearly, Rostow points out, if such steps were not necessary to the prosecution of the war, they invaded rights protected by the Third Article of the Constitution and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
By its action the court upheld the main parts of the program and converted a war-time doctrine into a permanent part of the law. What the Supreme Court did in these cases, and especially in Korematsu v. U.S. was to increase the strength of the military in relation to civil government and for the first time in American legal history seriously weakened the protection of our basic civil right, the writ of habeas corpus.