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University of Virginia School of Law




In 1967, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion that contained its most searing and explicit condemnation of white supremacy: Loving v. Virginia. At issue in Loving was the constitutionality of a statutory scheme in the state of Virginia that prohibited marriages between individuals solely on the basis of race. Among other things, provisions in this statutory scheme punished intermarriage between a "white person" and a "colored person," meaning not only Blacks, but also Asian Americans and American Indians who did not fall under the Pocahontas Exception. The provisions also punished evasion of the state's interracial marriage ban by Virginians who chose to legally marry each other in another state and then return to live together as spouses in Virginia. Indeed, Section 20-59 of the statutory scheme subjected individuals who violated Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws to imprisonment for one to five years.

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