We don’t know a lot about Yick Wo. We’re not even sure that was his name. But it was the name of the laundry business he owned in San Francisco in the late 19th century. And it was the name listed on a Supreme Court decision that forever changed American law.
On May 30, 1942, Fred Korematsu was arrested on a streetcorner in San Leandro, California. He knew he was breaking federal law – he had even undergone plastic surgery to avoid detection. His crime? Fred Korematsu was Japanese-American.
Korematsu and Civil Liberties tells the story of one man’s 40 year struggle for justice and the consequences a nation faces when weighing national security, politics, and its Constitutional obligations.
It began one night over dinner, a casual conversation between a former Supreme Court Justice who grew up on a ranch in Arizona, and a trumpet virtuoso raised amid the music of New Orleans. It became A Celebration of America, a gala concert that took place in Washington DC on the eve of Barack Obama’s historic inauguration. It was presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center and sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Woven through a program of extraordinary music and hope, former Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis continued the conversation they’d begun a few months before. This series of taped segments are their riffs on why jazz music and the Constitution are uniquely American – and so very much alike.
An examination of the Supreme Court’s dilemmas and tensions as it stepped into the “political thicket” of voting and representational equality, establishing the practice of what has become a core American principle: “One person, one vote.”
Michelle Horner is the principal of Wawona Elementary School in Mariposa, California. Actually, she’s “the teacher and the principal and the counselor.” Wawona is a one-room school, kindergarten through sixth grade. All of the children’s parents are federal employees who live in and protect Yosemite National Park.
Even a one-room school needs textbooks, equipment and furniture. When the school went into its tenth year of deficits, Horner turned to Congress for help. But Congress couldn’t just hand her the money. She needed a law.
An Independent Judiciary examines the impact Chief Justice John Marshall had on defining the role of the judiciary in the republic’s crucial early years, as well as two episodes in the struggle to ensure that judicial independence be accepted, by the other branches of the government and the people themselves, as a fundamental principal of American life.
Key Constitutional Concepts is a three-part film examining the creation of the Constitution and two real-life Constitutional conflicts that came to be seen as landmark Supreme Court cases: Gideon v. Wainwright and Youngstown v. Sawyer.