Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: June 12, 1967


6/12/1967: Loving v. Virginia decided.


NEXT: Cornell Dean Eduardo M. Peñalver on the Jacobson Controversy

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  1. Look at those states where interracial marriage was still illegal at the time. To our eyes today the map looks quite Republican.

  2. I moved to the Great State of Northern Virginia a little over a decade ago and it’s been fun to watch and be part of the big flip.

  3. Reads as classic Warren — blunt and seemingly sweeping, but the doctrinal line is thinner than it might appear. In the Equal Protection section, the decision leaves open the possibility that such a statute could be vindicated by a “legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination.” (E.g., the best interests of the child, should that be proven.) Modern means-narrowing doctrine leads to the assumption that there are some things always beyond the pale unless there’s absolutely no other way of accomplishing a necessary action. The court here had yet to make that jump.

    Mr. D.

    1. It’s really a right to privacy decision. Implicitly the Court was endorsing the “penumbras and emanations” that Thomas likes to make fun of, but which allowed him to marry a white woman.

      1. I tend to read the Brandeis-and-Bostonians privacy penumbras as a different theory of law than Warren’s Equal Protection decisions. Both involve the right to do something, but the right to participate in society by marrying is distinct from the right to marital relations. When you are trying to sit at a lunch counter, the point isn’t that you have a right to be left alone — the racist thugs around you can take care of that bit.

        Mr. D.

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