Michelle Malkin can breathe a little easier today. Fred Korematsu, the twentieth century's greatest threat to the U.S. government's constitutional authority to keep American citizens in concentration camps, has died at the age of 86. Although the case Korematsu v. United States was decided in favor of the government and Korematsu himself kept a low profile in the postwar years, his challenge to the policy of interning Japanese-Americans received new attention as historians and activists began to take a closer look at this shameful piece of American history. President Reagan issued an official apology and reparations in 1988, and Korematsu received a Medal of Freedom from President Clinton in 1998.
Like all bad ideas, internment seems destined for periodic revivals. Malkin, the meretricious bigmouth and self-described "first-generation American," has led the effort to burnish the sordid legacy of internment in recent years—all the more reason to remember the lives, the fortunes, and the sacred honor that get destroyed when the government responds to (and helps to lead) a public panic.