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A look at the 'Loving' decision

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  • multiracialbookclub
    ... Listed below is a copy of the actual brief of the United States (U.S.) Supreme Court ruling decision in the historic Loving
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 24, 2011
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      Listed below is a copy of the actual brief of the 
      United States (U.S.) Supreme Court ruling 
      decision in the historic 'Loving' court case.


      [NOTE: The 'Loving vs. Virginia' case (the 'Loving' case) was the 
      historic 1967 case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court declaring 
      -- that BOTH all of the 'anti-miscegenation' laws found throughout 
      the entire United States -- AS WELL AS the racist-'One-Drop Rule',
      upon which many of these laws based --- as being UN-Constitutional 
      (i.e. 'banned'; 'outlawed'; 'illegal'; 'unenforceable'; 'non-applicable', etc.)]




      U.S. Supreme Court
      LOVING v. VIRGINIA, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)


      388 U.S. 1
      OF VIRGINIA . 
      No. 395. 
      Argued April 10, 1967.  / Decided June 12, 1967.


      Virginia 's statutory scheme 
      to prevent marriages between persons 
      solely on the basis of racial classifications
      held to violate the Equal Protection and Due 
      Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.


      Pp. 4-12. 206  Va.  924, 147 S. E. 2d 78, reversed.

      Bernard S. Cohen and Philip J. Hirschkop 
      argued the cause and filed a brief for appellants

      Mr. Hirschkop argued pro hac
      vice, by special leave of Court.


      R. D. McIlwaine III, Assistant Attorney General 
      of Virginia , argued the cause for appellee
      With him on the brief were Robert Y. Button, Attorney 
      General, and Kenneth C. Patty, Assistant Attorney General.


      William M. Marutani, by special leave of Court, 
      argued the cause for the Japanese American
      , as amicus curiae, urging reversal.

      Briefs of amici curiae, urging reversal, were 
      filed by William M. Lewers and William B. Ball 
      for the National Catholic Conference for 
      Interracial Justice
       et al.; 
      [388 U.S. 1, 2]  by
      Robert L. Carter and Andrew D. Weinberger for 
      the National Association for the Advancement 
      of Colored People
      , and by Jack Greenberg, 
      James M. Nabrit III and Michael Meltsner for the 
      N. A. A. C. P. Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.


      T. W. Bruton, Attorney General, and Ralph Moody, 
      Deputy Attorney General, filed a brief for the State of 
      North Carolina
      , as amicus curiae, urging affirmance.


      delivered the opinion of the Court.


      This case presents 
      a constitutional question 
      never addressed by this Court

      whether a
       statutory scheme 
       by the State of  Virginia  
      to prevent marriages 
      between persons 
      solely on the basis of 
      racial classifications 
      violates the
      Equal Protection and 
      Due Process Clauses of 
      the Fourteenth Amendment
      . 1

      For reasons which
       seem to us 
      to reflect the central meaning 
      those constitutional commands
      we conclude that these statutes 
      cannot stand
       consistently with 
      the Fourteenth Amendment


      In June 1958, two residents of Virginia, Mildred Jeter, 
      a Negro woman, and Richard Loving, a white man
      were married in the  District of Columbia  pursuant to its laws.

      Shortly after their marriage, the Lovings returned to  Virginia  
      and established their marital abode in  Caroline   County .

      At the October Term, 1958, of the Circuit Court [388 U.S. 1, 3]   
      of  Caroline   County , a grand jury issued an indictment charging 
      the Lovings with violating  Virginia 's ban on interracial marriages.

      On January 6, 1959, the Lovings pleaded guilty to
      the charge and were sentenced to one year in jail
      however, the trial judge suspended the sentence for a period 
      of 25 years on the condition that the Lovings leave the
      State and not return to  Virginia  together for 25 years

      He stated in an opinion that:
                "Almighty God created the races 
                 white, black, yellow, malay and, 
                 and he placed them on separate continents.
                 And but for the interference with his arrangement 
                 there would be no cause for such marriages.
                 The fact that he separated the races shows 
                 that he did not intend for the races to mix."

      After their convictions, the Lovings took
      up residence in the  District of Columbia .

      On November 6, 1963, they filed a motion 
      in the state trial court to vacate the judgment 
      and set aside the sentence on the ground that 
      the statutes which they had violated were 
      repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment


      The motion not having been
      decided by October 28, 1964, 
      the Lovings instituted a class-action
      in the United States District Court for the 
      Eastern District of Virginia requesting 
      that a three-judge court be convened to
        Virginia antimiscegenation
      unconstitutional and to 
      state officials 
      from enforcing their convictions.

      On January 22, 1965, the state trial judge
      denied the motion to vacate the sentences,
      and the Lovings perfected an appeal to
      the Supreme Court of Appeals of  Virginia .

      On February 11, 1965, the three-judge District Court 
      continued the case to allow the Lovings to present 
      their constitutional claims to the highest state-court.

      The Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the
      constitutionality of the antimiscegenation
      statutes and, after 
      [388 U.S. 1, 4]  modifying
      the sentence, affirmed the convictions. 

      The Lovings appealed this decision,
      and we noted probable jurisdiction
      on December 12, 1966,
       385 U.S. 986 .


      The two statutes under which appellants 
      were convicted and sentenced are part of 
      a comprehensive statutory scheme 
      aimed at prohibiting and punishing 
      interracial marriages

      The Lovings were convicted of 
      violating 20-58 of 
      the Virginia Code:

      " Leaving   State  to evade law.

      If any white person and colored person 
      shall go out of this State

      for the purpose of being married, 
      and with the intention of returning, 
      and be married out of it, 
      and afterwards return to and reside in it,
      cohabiting as man and wife, 
      they shall be punished 
      as provided in 20-59, 
      and the marriage shall be 
      governed by the same law 
      as if it had been 
      solemnized in this State.

      The fact of their cohabitation
      here as man and wife shall be
      evidence of their marriage."

      Section 20-59, 
      which defines the penalty 
      for miscegenation, provides:

      "Punishment for marriage.

      If any white person intermarry with a colored person, 
      or any colored person intermarry with a white person, 
      he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished 
      by confinement in the penitentiary
       for not 
      less than one nor more than five years."


      Other central provisions in 
      the Virginia statutory scheme
      are 20-57, which 
      automatically voids 
      all marriages between 
      "a white person 
      and a colored person"
      without any judicial proceeding, 
      3 and 20-54 and 1-14 which, 
      [388 U.S.1, 5]   respectively, 
      define "white persons" and 
      "colored persons and Indians"
      purposes of the statutory prohibitions

      The Lovings have never disputed 
      in the course of this litigation that 
      Mrs. Loving is a "colored person" or 
      that Mr. Loving is a white person" 
      within the meanings given those 
      terms by the Virginia statutes
      .[388 U.S.1, 6]  

      Virginia is now one of 16 States which 
      prohibit and punish marriages 
      on the basis of racial classifications.

      Penalties for miscegenation arose 
      as an incident to slavery and 
      have been common in  Virginia  
      since the colonial period.

      The present statutory scheme 
      dates from the adoption of 
      the Racial Integrity Act of 1924

      passed during the period of extreme nativism 
      which followed the end of the First World War.

      The central features of this Act, 
      and current Virginia law, are 
      the absolute prohibition of a "white person" 
      marrying other than another "white person,"
      a prohibition against issuing marriage licenses 
      until the issuing official is satisfied that [388 U.S.1, 7]   
      the applicants' statements as to their race are correct, 
      certificates of "racial composition" to be kept by 
      both local and state registrars, 
      9 and the carrying forward 
      of earlier prohibitions against racial intermarriage


      --- In upholding the constitutionality of 
      these provisions in the decision below, 
      the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia 
      referred to
       its 1955 decision in Naim v. Naim
      197 Va. 80, 87 S. E. 2d 749, as stating the 
      reasons supporting the validity of these laws. 

      --- In Naim, the state court concluded that 
      the State's legitimate purposes were 
      "to preserve the racial integrity of its citizens," 
      and to prevent "the corruption of blood," 
      "a mongrel breed of citizens,"
      "the obliteration of racial pride," 
      obviously an endorsement of the 
      doctrine of White Supremacy. 
      Id. , at 90, 87 S. E. 2d, at 756. 

      --- The court also reasoned that marriage has 
      traditionally been subject 
      to state regulation 
      without federal intervention, and, consequently, 
      the regulation of marriage should be left to 
      exclusive state control by the Tenth Amendment.

      While the state court is no doubt correct in asserting 
      that marriage is a social relation subject to the State's 
      police power, Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888), 
      the State does not contend in its argument 
      before this Court that its powers to regulate 
      marriage are unlimited notwithstanding 
      the commands of the Fourteenth Amendment

      Nor could it do so in light of Meyer 
      v.  Nebraska , 262 U.S. 390 (1923), and 
      Skinner v.  Oklahoma , 316 U.S. 535 (1942). 

      --- Instead, the State argues that the meaning of 
      the Equal Protection Clause, as illuminated 
      by the statements of the Framers, 
      is only that state penal laws containing 
      an interracial element [388 U. S.1, 8]   
      as part of the definition of the offense 
      must apply equally to whites and Negroes
      in the sense that members of each race 
      are punished to the same degree.

      --- Thus, the State contends that,
      because its miscegenation statutes
      punish equally both the white and the Negro
      participants in an interracial marriage, 
      these statutes, despite their 
      reliance on racial classifications

      do not constitute an invidious 
      discrimination based upon race

      The second argument advanced 
      by the State assumes the validity 
      of its equal application theory.

      --- The argument is that, 
      if the Equal Protection Clause 
      does not outlaw miscegenation
      statutes because of their 
      reliance on racial classifications, 
      the question of constitutionality 
      would thus become whether 
      there was any rational basis 
      for a State to treat interracial marriages 
      differently from other marriages.

      --- On this question, the State argues, 
      the scientific evidence is 
      substantially in doubt
      and, consequently, this Court 
      should defer to the wisdom 
      of the state legislature 
      in adopting its policy of 
      discouraging interracial marriages.

      Because we reject the notion that the 
      mere "equal application" of a statute 
      containing racial classifications 
      is enough to remove 
      the classifications 
      from the Fourteenth Amendment's
      proscription of all invidious
      racial discriminations

      we do not accept the State's contention
      that these
       statutes should be upheld if
      there is any possible basis for concluding 
      that they serve a rational purpose.

      The mere fact of equal application does not mean 
      that our analysis of these statutes should follow 
      the approach we have taken in cases 
      involving no racial discrimination 
      where the Equal Protection Clause 
      has been arrayed against a statute 
      discriminating between the kinds of 
      advertising which may be displayed on trucks 
      in  New York  City, Railway Express Agency, 
      Inc. v. New York, 336 U.S.106 (1949), 
      or an exemption in Ohio's ad valorem tax for 
      merchandise owned by a nonresident in a 
      storage warehouse, Allied Stores of Ohio, 
      [388 U.S.1, 9]   Inc. .Bowers, 358 U.S.522 (1959).

      In these cases, involving distinctions 
      not drawn according to race, the Court 
      has merely asked whether there is any 
      rational foundation for the discriminations, and 
      has deferred to the wisdom of the state legislatures.

      In the case at bar, however, we deal with 
      statutes containing racial classifications

      and the fact of equal application does not immunize 
      the statute from the very heavy burden of justification 
      which the Fourteenth Amendment has traditionally 
      required of state statutes drawn according to race.

      The State argues that statements in the 
      Thirty-ninth Congress about the time of 
      the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment 
      indicate that the Framers did not 
      intend the Amendment to make 
      unconstitutional state miscegenation laws.

      Many of the statements alluded to by the State 
      concern the debates over the Freedmen's Bureau 
      Bill, which President Johnson vetoed, and the Civil 
      Rights Act of 1866, 14 Stat. 27, enacted over his veto.

      While these statements have some relevance 
      to the intention of Congress in submitting the 
      Fourteenth Amendment, it must be understood 
      that they pertained to the passage of 
      specific statutes and not to the broader, 
      organic purpose of a constitutional amendment.

      As for the various statements directly concerning 
      the Fourteenth Amendment, we have said 
      in connection with a related problem, that 
      although these historical sources "cast some light" 
      they are not sufficient to resolve the problem; 
      "[a]t best, they are inconclusive.

      The most avid proponents of the post-War Amendments 
      undoubtedly intended them to remove all legal distinctions 
      among `all persons born or naturalized in the  United States . ' 

      Their opponents, just as certainly, were antagonistic 
      to both the letter and the spirit of the Amendments 
      and wished them to have the most limited effect. " 

      Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 489 (1954).
      See also Strauder [388 U. S.1, 10]   v. 
      West Virginia , 100 U.S. 303, 310 (1880).

      We have rejected the proposition that the debates in the 
      Thirty-ninth Congress or in the state legislatures which 
      ratified the Fourteenth Amendment supported the theory 
      advanced by the State, that the requirement of 
      equal protection of the laws is satisfied 
      by penal laws defining offenses 
      based on racial classifications 
      so long as white and Negro participants 
      in the offense were similarly punished.
      McLaughlin v.  Florida , 379 U.S.184 (1964).

      The State finds support for its "equal application" 
      theory in the decision of the Court in Pace v.
      Alabama , 106 U.S.583 (1883).

      In that case, the Court upheld a conviction 
      under an  Alabama  statute forbidding 
      adultery or fornication between 
      a white person and a Negro 
      which imposed a greater penalty than 
      that of a statute proscribing similar 
      conduct by members of the same race.

      The Court reasoned that the statute could not be said to 
      discriminate against Negroes because the punishment 
      for each participant in the offense was the same.

      However, as recently as the 1964 Term, in 
      rejecting the reasoning of that case, we stated 
      "Pace represents a limited view of the 
      Equal Protection Clause which has not withstood 
      analysis in the subsequent decisions of this Court. " 
      McLaughlin v.Florida, supra, at 188.

      As we there demonstrated, the Equal Protection Clause 
      requires the consideration of whether the 
       drawn by any statute constitute 
      an arbitrary and invidious discrimination

      The clear and central purpose of
      the Fourteenth Amendment was
      to eliminate all official state sources of 
      invidious racial discrimination in the States

      Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 71 (1873); 
      Strauder v.West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 307 -308 
      (1880); Ex parte Virginia, 100 U.S. 339, 344 -345 
      (1880); Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948); 
      Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 
      365 U. S. 715 (1961).[388 U.S.1, 11]  

      There can be no question but that 
      Virginia's miscegenation statutes rest solely upon 
      distinctions drawn according to race.

      The statutes proscribe generally accepted conduct 
      if engaged in by members of different races.

      Over the years, this Court has consistently repudiated 
      "[d]istinctions between citizens 
      solely because of their ancestry" 
      as being "odious to a free people
      whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality."
      Hirabayashi   v.United   States , 320 U.S.81, 100 (1943).

      At the very least, the Equal Protection Clause demands that 
      racial classifications, especially suspect in criminal statutes, 
      be subjected to the "most rigid scrutiny," 
      Korematsu v.United States, 323 U.S.214, 216 (1944), 
      and, if they are ever to be upheld, 
      they must be shown to be necessary to the 
      accomplishment of some permissible state objective
      independent of the racial discrimination 
      which it was the object of the 
      Fourteenth Amendment to eliminate

      Indeed, two members of this Court
      have already stated that they 
      "cannot conceive of a valid legislative purpose ...
      which makes the color of a person's skin the test 
      of whether his conduct is a criminal offense."
      McLaughlin v.  Florida , supra, at 198 
      (STEWART, J., joined by 

      DOUGLAS, J., concurring).

      There is patently no legitimate overriding 
      purpose independent of invidious 
      racial discrimination which 
      justifies this classification

      The fact that  Virginia  prohibits
      only interracial marriages
      involving white persons 
      demonstrates that the 
      racial classifications 
      must stand on their 
      own justification, as 
      measures designed to 
      maintain White Supremacy

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