Minoru Yasui American Inn of Court



History of Minoru Yasui

  • 1916 Minoru Yasui is born in Hood River, Oregon, to Masuo and Shidzuyo Yasui.  
  • 1933 Graduates valedictorian from Hood River High School.
  • 1937 Graduates from the University of Oregon Phi Beta Kappa, and is commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army (ROTC graduate).
  • 1939 – Graduates from the University of Oregon School of Law with honors. 1940 – Begins employment with the Japanese Consul-General in Chicago as a consular attaché.
  • 1941 – Resigns from Consul-General’s office on December 8th, following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • 1942 – Minoru’s father, Masuo, is arrested by the FBI as an enemy alien.
  • 1942 – Minoru opens a law practice in Oregon, working largely as a pro bono lawyer. He is unable to find work elsewhere due to the feelings against Japanese Americans at that time.
  • 1942 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066.  Lt. General John DeWitt issues Public Proclamation No. 3, imposing travel restrictions and a curfew for all persons of Japanese ancestry, including American citizens.
  • 1942 – Minoru Yasui has himself deliberately arrested to test this violation of the U.S. Constitution.
  • 1942 – Minoru Yasui had a one-day bench trial before Judge James Alger Fee in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.  The Judge reserves his ruling, and sends Minoru to an assembly center to be assigned to an interment camp. 
  • 1942 – Minoru Yasui is incarcerated from June through September in an internment camp in Portland, Oregon.
  • 1942 – Minoru Yasui is transferred to an internment camp in Minidoka, Idaho, in September.  He stays there until November, awaiting the judge’s decision.
  • 1942 – Judge Fee issues his decision, convicting Minoru and imposing the maximum sentence – one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.  Judge Fee takes away Yasui’s U.S. citizenship.  Minoru is placed in solitary confinement for nine months, and is allowed to bathe and shave only once a month.
  • 1945 – Minoru Yasui passes the Colorado bar examination with the highest score that year, but is not allowed to practice because of his prior criminal conviction.  The American Civil Liberties Union represents him and appeals to the Colorado Supreme Court.  Minoru is finally allowed to practice.  He dedicates himself to always being active in civil rights and volunteering in the community.  
  • 1976 – The Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award (MYCVA) is created in recognition of his tireless spirit of community volunteerism.
  • 1983 – Minoru files a writ of error coram nobis in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, asking that his conviction be vacated, the underlying indictment be dismissed, and that the court make findings regarding possible governmental misconduct and the constitutionality of Public Proclamation No. 3.  The court vacates his conviction, but denies the writ on the other issues.  The case of United States v. Minoru Yasui begins moving through the appellate system.
  • 1986 – Minoru Yasui dies.  The United States Supreme Court deems United States v. Minoru Yasui moot because of his death, and dismisses the appeal.  The vindication through the courts, which Yasui always sought, never came.
  • 2002 – Minoru’s alma mater, the University of Oregon School of Law, awards him its highest award to honor his lifetime achievements and exemplary civil rights work.  Minoru’s wife, True Yasui, and family members receive the award on Min’s behalf at a special ceremony held in Denver, Colorado, in December 2002.
  • 2015 - Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock proclaims September 10, 2015 "Minoru Yasui Day."
  • 2015 - Minoru (posthumously) receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama
About American Inn of Courts

American Inns of Court are designed to improve the skills, professionalism and ethics of the bench and bar. An American Inn of Court is an amalgam of judges, lawyers, and in some cases, law professors and law students.

Each Inn meets approximately once a month both to “break bread” and to hold programs and discussions on matters of ethics, skills and professionalism. Looking for a new way to help lawyers and judges rise to higher levels of excellence, professionalism, and ethical awareness, the American Inns of Court adopted the traditional English model of legal apprenticeship and modified it to fit the particular needs of the American legal system.

American Inns of Court help lawyers to become more effective advocates and counselors with a keener ethical awareness. Members learn side-by-side with the most experienced judges and attorneys in their community.

The Minoru Yasui American Inn of Court was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1996. Our Namesake, Minoru Yasui, continues to inspire our members to contribute positively to the Denver community. Min, as he liked to be called, spent his lifetime fighting discrimination and encouraging community development.

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