'What happened to us should never happen again': Japanese-American protesters weigh in on travel ruling

Washington (CNN)Outside Supreme Court on Tuesday, many protesters held signs that read "No Muslim Ban" and "We Will Not Be Banned" as they disputed the court's decision to uphold President Trump's travel ban.

In its ruling, the justices determined that President Donald Trump was within his authority when he blocked travel from seven countries, most of which are predominantly Muslim.
However, in the process -- thanks to a heated argument involving Justice Sonia Sotomayor -- the court also overturned the infamous 1944 Supreme Court decision blessing the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
It is what Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) described as the "silver lining" of the Trump v. Hawaii ruling.
    But members from the Japanese American Citizens League -- who said they were gathered to support their Muslim allies -- wanted to tell the Supreme Court they believe that the ruling isn't making history; it is instead allowing history to repeat itself.
    Amid the sea of signs, theirs stood out.
    "SCOTUS repeats disgraced history," one sign said, with an image of a front-page headline about American internment camps holding Japanese-Americans during World War II.
    "Presidential power doesn't always protect," read another, with a black-and-white image of some Japanese-Americans who were held at the interment camps.
    David Inoue, the executive director for the Japanese American Citizens League, said it was important for the organization to help others "stand up to discrimination."
    "What happened to us should never happen again," he told CNN in an interview. "And the sad thing is with this decision today, is they are affirming that it is OK to happen again. The irony of the [travel ban] decision is they did repudiate Korematsu (v. United States) for the racism it demonstrated, and yet ignored the racism at the basis of the policy the Trump administration is implementing here."
    Across social media, others made similar observations.
    "Overturning Korematsu to uphold a Muslim ban is a vile insult to the Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII," freelance journalist Mari Uyehara tweeted. "I miss my grandparents every single day. But we're relieved that they aren't alive to see this monstrous decision."
    A handful of Democratic lawmakers lamented the ruling as history repeating itself.
    "Like the Korematsu decision that upheld Japanese internment camps or Plessy v. Ferguson that established 'separate but equal,' this decision will someday serve as a marker of shame," Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, of Minnesota, tweeted. Ellison is one of two Muslim members of Congress.
    Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii who spent part of her childhood in Japan, called it a "dark day for America."
    "I don't know how the court can even evoke Korematsu in trying to make a distinction because Korematsu was a decision based on the President saying this is for national security," Hirono said in a speech at the rally, which drew in over 300 people.
    "And for the court to say the court of national opinion overturns Korematsu -- we can't wait around for national opinion to overturn this decision," she said. "Every time our country discriminates against a minority group history shows us to be wrong, wrong, wrong. And we are going to need to show how wrong this court was to totally ignore the anti-Muslim statements by this president, and to totally ignore that we are a country of checks and balances."
      In her dissent, Sotomayor said Chief Justice John Roberts took an "important step of finally overruling" Korematsu.
      But, she added: "By blindly accepting the Government's misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group, all in the name of a superficial claim of national security, the Court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu and merely replaces one gravely wrong decision with another."