Loving V. Virginia (1967) Case Brief

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Loving v. Virginia 388 U.S. 1 (1967) Facts: In June of 1958, Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, got married in Washington, D.C. They returned back to their home state of Virginia only to be convicted of violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law that prohibited interracial marriage. They both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to one year in jail. The judge suspended those sentences on condition that the Lovings leave Virginia and not return for twenty-five years. Mildred and Richard moved to Washington D.C. and with the help of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) they filled to have the sentence set aside on the ground that it violated their rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Virginia Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law and affirmed the convictions. Issues: 1. Does Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment? Holding: A vote of (9-0) in favor of Loving 1. Yes. Reasoning: Chief Justice Warren delivered the unanimous decision that the Virginia anti-miscegenation law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court found that even though the State showed that the statute punished both participants equally, it did not constitute “an invidious discrimination based upon race.” The Court states that at the very least, “the Equal Protection Clause demands that racial classifications… be subjected to the ‘most rigid scrutiny’… and… they must be shown to be necessary to the accomplishment of some permissible state objective, independent of the racial discrimination…” This requires that there be rigid scrutiny when the States drafts a statute that could infringe on “invidious discrimination,” and also requires that the State provide legitimate government interest. Finally, the Court shows
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