The Statutes Pave V. Alabama & Loving V. Virginia Essay

1364 Words May 17th, 2012 6 Pages
Assignment 2: The Statutes- Pace v. Alabama & Loving v. Virginia

Ashlee R. Hall

PAD 525: Constitution & Administrative Law
Dr. Lee
January 29, 2012

Was there ever a period in history where interracial marriages and sex among people of different races was considered illegal? As absurd as this idea sounds, the answer is yes. Astonishingly, less than 40 years ago marrying someone of a different race was considered illegal. Black people could not be with white people- it just couldn’t happen. These statutes date back to colonial times, around the 1600s, which at this time helped to maintain the racial caste system and expand slavery. Two particular landmark cases convey the importance of Anti-Miscegenation Statutes
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In November 1881, the plaintiff in error, Tony Pace, a negro man, and Mary J. Cox, a white woman, were indicted under section 4189, in a circuit court of Alabama, for living together in a state of adultery or fornication, and were tried, convicted, and sentenced, each to two years of imprisonment in the state penitentiary (http://laws.findlaw.com/us/106/583.html). On appeal to the Supreme Court of the state the judgment was affirmed, Pace brought the case here on writ of error, insisting that the act under which he was indicted and convicted is in conflict with the concluding clause of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which declares that no state shall ‘deny to any person the equal protection of the laws’ [106 U.S. 583, 584]. Loving v. Virginia originates from the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia in 1967, very many years after Pace v. Alabama. Once again, Anti-Miscegenation Statutes come back into the big picture. This case is landmark in the sense that it presents a constitutional question never presented in the courts in history: 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. In June of 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

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