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Covington Files Amicus Brief in Support of Civil Rights Suit Against NYPD


WASHINGTON, DC, July 17, 2014 — Covington on July 10 filed an amici curiae brief in support of the plaintiff-appellants in Hassan et al. v. City of New York, a case challenging the New York Police Department’s surveillance and infiltration program that targeted Muslim American communities. Covington filed the brief on behalf of Karen Korematsu, Jay Hirabayashi, and Holly Yasui, descendants of three American citizens of Japanese descent who challenged the constitutionality of curfew and detention orders directed at Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Covington’s brief argues that the district court, in dismissing at the earliest possible stage, acted contrary to the precedent growing from, and historical import of, the internment cases and subsequent apologies and reparations. The brief also focuses on the parallels in reasoning between Hassan and the now-repudiated reasoning of the internment cases.

“The district court repeatedly—and inappropriately—deferred to the alleged need for the Department to monitor all Muslims. This blind deference is worryingly similar to the statements and blindness of the Court in Korematsu,” the brief states.

Covington’s Charlie Horsky represented Fred Korematsu before the U.S. Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States, the landmark challenge to World War II internment decided in 1944.

The Covington team in Hassan included Benjamin Block and William Murray. Co-counsel included Stephen Schulhofer of New York University School of Law, and San Francisco lawyer Robert Rusky, a member of Fred Korematsu’s coram nobis legal team during the 1980s.

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