WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Jared Huffman of California’s 2nd District, introduced a bill Oct. 21 to rename federal courthouse in McKinleyville, Calif., after the late Judge Louis E. Goodman, who served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and was a supporter of civil rights and Japanese Americans during World War II.
During the war, Goodman was the first judge to speak against the incarceration as unconstitutional and ruled against the U.S. government in two separate cases.
One of those cases was United States v. Masaaki Kuwabara, in which Goodman ruled “that those American citizens of Japanese ancestry who were incarcerated could not be compelled to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces nor be found guilty of resisting the draft at the same time they were being denied the rights of citizenry.”
After this ruling, “Judge Goodman would go on to play a major role in restoring the U.S. citizenship of thousands of Japanese Americans who had been pressed to renounce such citizenship while under duress and detained by armed guard.”
Rep. Huffman spoke of Goodman, saying, “Judge Goodman had the integrity to defend the rights of all Americans from the bench at a time when few stood up to unconstitutional discrimination against Japanese Americans. He did not waver from his duty to uphold the civil rights and liberties enshrined in the Constitution, despite significant professional and personal risk to himself. Renaming this federal courthouse in his honor is a fitting tribute to his courageous work to defend the Constitution and will ensure that future generations learn from his important legacy.”
JACL Executive Director David Inoue echoed this sentiment as well.
“During WWII, there were few who stood up in opposition to the incarceration of the Japanese American community. Our civil rights allies, politicians and even the Supreme Court turned their backs on the Constitution. Judge Goodman was one of the few who stood strong on two separate cases.”
The JACL is proud to support Rep. Huffman’s bill and eagerly hopes for its passage by Congress. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Katie Porter (CA-45) and has been endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the JACL, the Tule Lake Committee and the Humboldt Historical Society.
— JACL National