Saturday, May 17, 2014

Loving v. Virginia case brief summary

Loving v. Virginia (1967)


Facts: Interracial couple convicted under a Virginia statute making it a felony for any white person to marry any "colored" person, or for any "colored" person to marry any white person.
Issue/Holding: Does a state statute preventing marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications violate the EP and Due Process clauses of 14th Am?  Yes.

Reasoning/Major Points:
·         State defended statute because it punished both members of an interracial couple equally, and thus did not use racial classifications to make invidious discrimination in furtherance of its "legitimate" state purpose.
·         Court held that "equal application" of a statute containing racial classifications does not remove the classifications from 14th Amendment's proscription of invidious racial discrimination.
o   First time Court says that the purpose of the law was racist, making it unconstitutional
o   White supremacy is at issue, holding does not necessarily turn on the effect.  Court uses strict scrutiny to smoke out the purpose.
·         EP clause requires consideration of whether such classifications constitute arbitrary and invidious discrimination. 
o   Racial classifications in a statute must be shown to be necessary to some permissible state objective, independent of the racial discrimination. 
o   Statute patently has no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination, as shown by the fact that it barred only interracial marriages involving whites, not, for instance, those between African-Americans and Asians.

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