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12.2: Supreme Court Decisions

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    Roe v. Wade

     A pregnant single woman (Roe) brought a class action challenging the constitutionality of the Texas criminal abortion laws, which proscribe procuring or attempting an abortion except on medical advice for the purpose of saving the mother’s life. A licensed physician (Hallford), who had two state abortion prosecutions pending against him, was permitted to intervene. A childless married couple (the Does), the wife not being pregnant, separately attacked the laws, basing alleged injury on the future possibilities of contraceptive failure, pregnancy, unpreparedness for parenthood, and impairment of the wife’s health.

    A three-judge District Court, which consolidated the actions, held that Roe and Hallford, and members of their classes, had standing to sue and presented justiciable controversies. Ruling that declaratory, though not injunctive, relief was warranted, the court declared the abortion statutes void as vague and over broadly infringing those plaintiffs’ Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court ruled the Does’ complaint not justiciable. Appellants directly appealed to this Court on the injunctive rulings, and appellee cross-appealed from the District Court’s grant of declaratory relief to Roe and Hallford.

    Held:

    1. While 28 U.S.C. § 1253 authorizes no direct appeal to this Court from the grant or denial of declaratory relief alone, review is not foreclosed when the case is properly before the Court on appeal from specific denial of injunctive relief and the arguments as to both injunctive and declaratory relief are necessarily identical.

    2. Roe has standing to sue; the Does and Hallford do not.

    •  Contrary to appellee’s contention, the natural termination of Roe’s pregnancy did not moot her suit. Litigation involving pregnancy, which is “capable of repetition, yet evading review,” is an exception to the usual federal rule that an actual controversy must exist at review stages, and not simply when the action is initiated.

    • The District Court correctly refused injunctive, but erred in granting declaratory, relief to Hallford, who alleged no federally protected right not assertible as a defense against the good faith state prosecutions pending against him. Samuels v. Mackell, 401 U. S. 66.

    • The Does’ complaint, based as it is on contingencies, any one or more of which may not occur, is too speculative to present an actual case or controversy.

    3. State criminal abortion laws, like those involved here, that except from criminality only a lifesaving procedure on the mother’s behalf without regard to the stage of her pregnancy and other interests involved violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy. Though the State cannot override that right, it has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman’s health and the potentiality of human life, each of which interests grows and reaches a “compelling” point at various stages of the woman’s approach to term.

    • For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.

    • For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.

    • For the stage subsequent to viability, the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.

    4. The State may define the term “physician” to mean only a physician currently licensed by the State and may proscribe any abortion by a person who is not a physician as so defined.

    5. It is unnecessary to decide the injunctive relief issue, since the Texas authorities will doubtless fully recognize the Court’s ruling that the Texas criminal abortion statutes are unconstitutional.

    Source

    Martella, M. Law 101: Fundamentals of the Law. ROE v. WADE | Law 101: Fundamentals of the Law. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-monroe-law101/chapter/roe-v-wade-410-u-s-113- 1973/.

    Brown v Board of Education 

    Consolidated action brought to challenge racial segregation in public schools; Right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment; Judicial review of the “separate but equal” doctrine; Equality / Nondiscrimination; Racial Discrimination; Right to Education.

    Date of the Ruling: May 17, 1954

    Forum: U.S. Supreme Court

    Type of Forum: Domestic

    Summary:

    This class action consolidated a number of cases brought on behalf of black schoolchildren denied admission to segregated public schools, under state law. Public facilities were previously racially segregated in the United States, particularly in the South. The case sought to challenge the “separate but equal” doctrine set forth in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), that governed racial segregation at the time. This doctrine held that substantially equal but separate facilities amounted to equal treatment of the races. The plaintiffs argued that racially segregated public schools are not and cannot be made equal and therefore such a system deprived them of their right to equal protection under the law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

    The Court, emphasizing the importance of education as a government function and the principal instrument to a child’s progression and ultimate success, struck down the legality of racial segregation in public schools. Furthermore, the Court held that when the state undertakes to provide public education it must be made available to all on equal terms, pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court concluded that state sanctioned segregation, on the sole basis of race, generates a feeling of inferiority among black children that is likely to undermine their educational and mental development. The Court noted that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Segregated schools deprive minority children of equal educational opportunities, regardless of whether they have access to facilities and other “tangible” factors that are otherwise equal.

    Enforcement of the Decision and Outcomes:

    After the decision in this landmark case, a number of school districts across the country desegregated peacefully. However, resistance to school desegregation at times resulted in open defiance and violent confrontations, including race riots, civil disturbances, and general resistance to integration in many states. The federal government in some instances deployed federal troops to assist in the integration of public schools; such was the case in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. Cases involving racial segregation in schools still continue. Although racial segregation is no longer legal, in reality, due to economic and other factors, racial segregation in practice continues. Several cases have developed to response to these issues including: Guey Heung Lee v. Johnson, 404 U.S 1215 (1971) – desegregation of Asian schools despite opposition of the Asian students’ parents; Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974) — rejected bussing students across school district lines as an effort to facilitate racially diverse schools; Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 551 U.S. 701, 127 S. Ct. 2738 (2007) — rejected assigning students to schools solely on the basis of race; and the Edgewood decisions which have allowed funding for schools to be generated by property taxes regardless of the disparate funding following racial and economic lines that results.

    Groups involved in the case:

    • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): http://www.naacp.org/content/main/

    Significance of the Case:

    Brown v. Board of Education was one of many cases launched by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to contest Jim Crow laws – state laws which allowed for or mandated racial segregation or discrimination. This landmark case effectively brought an end to state sanctioned racial segregation and discrimination in the United States. The case not only began an era of racial integration, but also served as an important steppingstone in the Civil Rights Movement and human rights movement in the United States.

    Source

    Burrell, K. United States History: Reconstruction to the Present. Lumen. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/atd-hostos-ushistory/chapter/brown-v-board-of-education347-u-s-483/.

    Gideon v. Wainwright

    Note

    Follow the link to learn more about Gideon v. Wainwright through the Oyez project.

    Loving v. Virginia

     Argued April 10, 1967.Decided June 12, 1967.APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA. 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 Citizens League, 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.; 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.

    MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.

    This case presents a constitutional question never addressed by this Court: whether a statutory scheme adopted 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. For reasons which seem to us to reflect the central meaning of 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 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 red, 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 declare the Virginia anti-miscegenation statutes unconstitutional and to enjoin 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 anti-miscegenation statutes and, after 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, and §§ 20- 54 and 1-14 which, respectively, define “white persons” and “colored persons and Indians” for 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.

    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 the applicants’ statements as to their race are correct, certificates of “racial composition” to be kept by both local and state registrars, and the carrying forward of earlier prohibitions against racial intermarriage.

    I. 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,” and “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 8*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, 9*9 Inc. v. 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 10*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 classifications 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).

    Unquestionably, 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. We have consistently denied the constitutionality of measures which restrict the rights of citizens on account of race. There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.

    II. These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. 

    Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U. S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U. S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

    These convictions must be reversed.

    It is so ordered.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART, concurring.

    I have previously expressed the belief that “it is simply not possible for a state law to be valid under our Constitution which makes the criminality of an act depend upon the race of the actor.” McLaughlin v. Florida, 379 U. S. 184, 198 (concurring opinion). Because I adhere to that belief, I concur in the judgment of the Court.

    Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment provides:

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    206 Va. 924, 147 S. E. 2d 78 (1966).

    Section 20-57 of the Virginia Code provides:

    “Marriages void without decree.—All marriages between a white person and a colored person shall be absolutely void without any decree of divorce or other legal process.” Va. Code Ann. § 20-57 (1960 Repl. Vol.).

    Section 20-54 of the Virginia Code provides:

    “Intermarriage prohibited; meaning of term `white persons.’—It shall hereafter be unlawful for any white person in this State to marry any save a white person, or a person with no other admixture of blood than white and American Indian. For the purpose of this chapter, the term `white person’ shall apply only to such person as has no trace whatever of any blood other than Caucasian; but persons who have one-sixteenth or less of the blood of the American Indian and have no other non-Caucasic blood shall be deemed to be white persons. All laws heretofore passed and now in effect regarding the intermarriage of white and colored persons shall apply to marriages prohibited by this chapter.” Va. Code Ann. § 20-54 (1960 Repl. Vol.).

    The exception for persons with less than one-sixteenth “of the blood of the American Indian” is apparently accounted for, in the words of a tract issued by the Registrar of the State Bureau of Vital Statistics, by “the desire of all to recognize as an integral and honored part of the white race the descendants of John Rolfe and Pocahontas…” Plecker, The New Family and Race Improvement, 17 Va. Health Bull., Extra No. 12, at 25-26 (New Family Series No. 5, 1925), cited in Wadlington, The Loving Case: Virginia’s Anti-Miscegenation Statute in Historical Perspective, 52 Va. L. Rev. 1189, 1202, n. 93 (1966).

    Section 1-14 of the Virginia Code provides:

    “Colored persons and Indians defined.—Every person in whom there is ascertainable any Negro blood shall be deemed and taken to be a colored person, and every person not a colored person having one fourth or more of American Indian blood shall be deemed an American Indian; except that members of Indian tribes existing in this Commonwealth having one fourth or more of Indian blood and less than one sixteenth of Negro blood shall be deemed tribal Indians.” Va. Code Ann. § 1-14 (1960 Repl. Vol.).

    After the initiation of this litigation, Maryland repealed its prohibitions against interracial marriage, Md. Laws 1967, c. 6, leaving Virginia and 15 other States with statutes outlawing interracial marriage: Alabama, Ala. Const., Art. 4, § 102, Ala. Code, Tit. 14, § 360 (1958); Arkansas, Ark. Stat. Ann. § 55-104 (1947); Delaware, Del. Code Ann., Tit. 13, § 101 (1953); Florida, Fla. Const., Art. 16, § 24, Fla. Stat. § 741.11 (1965); Georgia, Ga. Code Ann. § 53-106 (1961); Kentucky, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 402.020 (Supp. 1966); Louisiana, La. Rev. Stat. § 14:79 (1950); Mississippi, Miss. Const., Art. 14, § 263, Miss. Code Ann. § 459 (1956); Missouri, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 451.020 (Supp. 1966); North Carolina, N. C. Const., Art. XIV, § 8, N. C. Gen. Stat. § 14-181 (1953); Oklahoma, Okla. Stat., Tit. 43, § 12 (Supp. 1965); South Carolina, S. C. Const., Art. 3, § 33, S. C. Code Ann. § 20-7 (1962); Tennessee, Tenn. Const., Art. 11, § 14, Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-402 (1955); Texas, Tex. Pen. Code, Art. 492 (1952); West Virginia, W. Va. Code Ann. § 4697 (1961).

    Over the past 15 years, 14 States have repealed laws outlawing interracial marriages: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

    The first state court to recognize that miscegenation statutes violate the Equal Protection Clause was the Supreme Court of California. Perez v. Sharp, 32 Cal. 2d 711, 198 P. 2d 17 (1948).

    Appellants point out that the State’s concern in these statutes, as expressed in the words of the 1924 Act’s title, “An Act to Preserve Racial Integrity,” extends only to the integrity of the white race. While Virginia prohibits whites from marrying any nonwhite (subject to the exception for the descendants of Pocahontas), Negroes, Orientals, and any other racial class may intermarry without statutory interference. Appellants contend that this distinction renders Virginia’s miscegenation statutes arbitrary and unreasonable even assuming the constitutional validity of an official purpose to preserve “racial integrity.” We need not reach this contention because we find the racial classifications in these statutes repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment, even assuming an even-handed state purpose to protect the “integrity” of all races.

    Source

    Knights, W. Loving v. Virginia. Constitutional Law. https://pressbooks.online.ucf.edu/constitutionallaw/chapter/loving-v-virginia/.

    Marbury v. Madison

    Note

    Follow the link to learn more about Marbury v. Madison through the Oyez project.

     


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