Senate Joint ResolutionNo. 12

Introduced by Senator Pan

(Principal coauthors: Senators Liu and Nguyen)

(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Bonta, Chang, Chau, Chiu, Chu, Kim, Low, Ting, and Williams)

June 2, 2015

Senate Joint Resolution No. 12—Relative to Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi.


SJR 12, as introduced, Pan. Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi: Presidential Medal of Freedom nomination.

This measure would state the Legislature’s support of the nomination of Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Fiscal committee: no.

P1    1WHEREAS, Mitsuye Endo was among 120,000 Japanese
2Americans residing on the west coast of the United States who
3were forced from their homes in the aftermath of the attack on
4Pearl Harbor; and

5WHEREAS, Pursuant to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s
6Executive Order No. 9066, Mitsuye Endo and her family were
7uprooted from their Sacramento home and incarcerated first in the
8Tule Lake War Relocation Camp in California, and later in the
9Topaz War Relocation Camp in Utah. Altogether, Endo spent
10nearly three years surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers in
11some of the most remote and desolate areas of the United States;

13WHEREAS, Based on Mitsuye Endo’s background as a loyal
14American citizen, a Nisei (second-generation Japanese American)
15from Sacramento who was Christian, had never been to Japan, and
P2    1had a brother serving in the United States Army, Endo was selected
2as the plaintiff for a test case challenging Japanese internment;

4WHEREAS, Endo’s case, Ex parte Mitsuye Endo (1944) 323
5U.S. 283, was a habeas corpus case challenging the authority of
6Executive Order No. 9066 and the War Relocation Authority to
7detain a “concededly loyal” American citizen without charges.
8The case was first filed on July 13, 1942, while Endo was
9incarcerated at Tule Lake, denied in 1943, and appealed to the
10United States Supreme Court in 1944; and

11WHEREAS, While her case was proceeding, Endo rejected an
12offer from the government for conditional release, choosing instead
13to remain incarcerated to allow her case to continue through the
14court system; and

15WHEREAS, On December 18, 1944, the United States Supreme
16Court ruled 9-0 in favor of Endo, stating that “A citizen who is
17concededly loyal presents no problem of espionage or sabotage.
18Loyalty is a matter of the heart and mind not of race, creed, or
19color. He who is loyal is by definition not a spy or a saboteur.
20When the power to detain is derived from the power to protect the
21war effort against espionage and sabotage, detention which has no
22relationship to that objective is unauthorized”; and

23WHEREAS, On December 17, 1944, the Roosevelt
24administration, which had been alerted in advance of the court’s
25ruling, rescinded Executive Order No. 9066; and

26WHEREAS, Beginning on January 2, 1945, only two weeks
27after the Endo decision, Japanese Americans held in the camps
28were released and able to return to the west coast of the United
29States. With the exception of Tule Lake, the incarceration camps
30began closing shortly thereafter; and

31WHEREAS, It has been noted that the United States Supreme
32Court’s decision in Endo created significant tension with the court’s
33decision in Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu v. United States (1944)
34323 U.S. 214, which was decided the same day. In short, the court
35held in Korematsu that the government could criminally punish
36someone for refusing to be illegally imprisoned; and

37WHEREAS, Mitsuye Endo was the only female plaintiff in the
38four United States Supreme Court cases that challenged the legality
39of military orders selectively affecting over 120,000 Japanese
40Americans during World War II; and

P3    1WHEREAS, The three remaining plaintiffs included Fred
2Korematsu, who challenged the exclusion order; Gordon
3Hirabayashi, who challenged the exclusion and curfew orders; and
4Minoru Yasui, who challenged the curfew order; and

5WHEREAS, Although two of these plaintiffs, Fred Korematsu
6and Gordon Hirabayashi, were awarded the Presidential Medal of
7Freedom, Endo, who brought the only victorious legal challenge
8filed by a Japanese American during World War II, has not; and

9WHEREAS, Endo is an authentic American heroine who made
10a principled, courageous, and historic stand and voluntarily
11sacrificed her own freedom to secure the rights of all Japanese
12Americans who were forcibly removed from their homes and
13confined in camps without the benefit of due process; now,
14therefore, be it

15Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of
16California, jointly,
That the Legislature supports the nomination
17of Mitsuye Endo Tsutsumi for the Presidential Medal of Freedom;
18and be it further

19Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of
20this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United
21States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the
22Majority Leader of the Senate, to each Senator and Representative
23from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the
24author for appropriate distribution.


Heading--Line 3.


Corrected 6-4-15—See last page.     99