Antonin Scalia is the longest serving judge currently sitting on the Supreme Court. So, whenever he takes time out of his schedule to talk with university students it is usually reported. However, on a recent occasion when he was speaking to students from the University of Hawaii, he seemed very interested in making a point about history and government power.
Justice Scalia claimed that the government is not only capable, but also willing to revive the use of World War II style internment camps. Obviously, this is not an eventuality that most people in our country would be comfortable seeing repeated. Yes, for those of the younger generation who do not remember, during World War II the USA did indeed round up Japanese Americans and put them into internment camps for the remainder of the war. This was also done to Americans of German and Italian descent, although to a much lesser degree.
We should point out that this is NOT something Scalia is in favor of. He came out and stated that this practice was wrong, from both a legal and moral basis. Additionally, the camps have also been ruled against on a judicial basis. Scalia also went to great pains to point out to the students that the government could easily do this again. Just as it happened before, they would use the excuse of safety in order to push through such a law. Heck, it might even end up as being an executive action of the president, without any formal congressional support.
He even told the students that, “you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again…I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification, but it is the reality.” The point is that just because a law is written does not mean that it will actually be honored, or that there will be people of enough honor and fortitude to ensure that we do not go too far with our zeal. We need to be wary about what is happening and always be ready for what could happen.
This is indeed an interesting and perhaps eery discussion topic, especially after it has recently come to light that FEMA has been building a number of camps. Of course, these are supposedly being reserved for times of ‘national emergency’ but who knows what other purposes they could be used for. There are now camps in just about every state and enough that they could literally hold a large portion of the population that the government might consider to be ‘trouble makers.’
Think this is a bit far-fetched? What might happen if there was some sort of event in the USA that caused the president to declare martial law? Then, he could literally declare all the laws and protections formerly guaranteed to citizens to be suspended. The fact that this warning is coming from a sitting US Supreme Court judge is very interesting and revealing.
What do YOU think? Is Scalia right—could we see a return of internment camps? What do you think would be the pressure event that sets all of this into motion? How would the government decide who belongs in such a place?