The Background of Case Study
Prior to 1967, the beliefs and views on racial differences had been an indispensible component of the American culture and history. Such beliefs were formulated on the basis of rampant racial discrimination that began with the servitude of Native Americans, slave trade, Jim Crow law and racial stratification of society. In 1865, Abraham Lincoln ratified the 13th Amendment and officially outlawed slavery. Unfortunately, slaves’ destinies were not shaped by this Amendment, and being Afro-Americans, they failed to gain freedom and equal rights. They were first to dismiss and last to hire; they did not obtain protection, rights and social acknowledgment. Under such circumstances, the American government ratified one more Amendment that claimed equality for all who were born in the United States of America. Nevertheless, this Amendment did not guarantee equal rights to those individuals who were not considered to be the United States Citizens. After realizing that discrimination still took place, the American government ratified the 14th Amendment that guaranteed citizenship and equal status to those individuals who were born and/or naturalized in the United States of America. Meanwhile, the 15th Amendment gave citizens an opportunity to protect their rights through voting, and it was the only method to control how states managed to act within the bounds of the law. Though such measures did not destroy the racial discrimination, they created good conditions to liquidate the vestige of the past (Rickert, 2005). On the other hand, being totally against such reforms, the citizens of the southern states (including Virginia) were still exposed to the racial prejudice. They were sustained by Jim Crawl’s laws and aimed to ban all racial equalities including mixed-race marriages.
In June 1958, a Negro woman, Mildred Jeter and a white man, Richard Loving (both were the residents of Virginia) got married in Columbia District in order to avoid anti-miscegenation statute of Virginia. Later on, the couple returned to Caroline country, the state of Virginia. In October 1958, the Lovings were accused of violating the ban of the state of Virginia on mixed-race marriages. On the 6th of January, they pleaded guilty and were committed to one year of imprisonment. Nevertheless, the trial judge suspended his sentence for 25 years in case the Lovings left the State of Virginia. The Lovings were not allowed to come back to Virginia for 25 years. After conviction, they moved to Columbia district. However, in November of 1963, the couple filed the motion in Virginia trial court to abolish the judgment and discharge the sentence arguing in favor of statute repugnance of the 14th Amendment. Though, the motion had not been decided by October of 1964; thus, the Lovings mounted a class action to the District Court of the United States for the Virginia Eastern District with a request to convene the three-judge court in order to declare the anti-miscegenation statute of Virginia unconstitutional. On the 22nd of January in 1965, the trial judge of the State denied the Lovings’ motion, and the Lovings appealed to Virginia Supreme Appellate Court, which upheld the anti-miscegenation statute constitutionality and affirmed conviction. In 1967, however, the Supreme Court of the United States of America dismissed charges from Lovings and adjudged that anti-miscegenation statute of Virginia violated the 14th Amendment.
The Position of Plaintiff
The white man and the black woman moved to Columbia state and got married in order to avoid Virginia anti-miscegenation statutes and came back to Virginia. Being charged with the mixed-race marriage, they were sentenced to be confined for 1 year.
The Lovings filed motion in the Virginia trial court to abolish the judgment and discharge the sentence. Their application was based on the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They argued the case on the ground of repugnance of the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed equality to all people born and/or naturalized in the United States. The 14th Amendment itself proclaimed equality to all citizens of the United States that were not subjugated by foreign powers (Gregory v. Ashcrof, 1999).
The Position of Defendant
In 1959, the trial judge of Circuit Court rationalized this decision in the context of Bible. The trial stated that God created different races and put them on different continents in order to separate one race from another and never let them mix together.
The District Court of the United States also denied the Lovings’ motion and stated that ban on mixed-raced marriages did not violate the positions proclaimed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The next step that the Loving made to protect their marriage was motion to the Supreme Appealing Court. However, the Supreme Appealing Court affirmed the Lovings’ conviction and stated that if couple went out of the State in order to get married and avoid anti-miscegenation statute and then returned to Virginia again, they would be punished as their marriage would be evidence of guilt. The Virginia Supreme Appealing Court also stated that such decision was based on the case of Naim vs. Naim and ensured that such measures were all important to prevent blood mixture.
The Defendants did not take into account the rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. Despite such changes in Civil Rights, Virginia still continued rejecting racial equality and made endless attempts to justify the decisions taken.
The Finding of the Court and the Rational Applied
The final step made by the Lovings to protect their marriage was filing motion to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the last chance to dismiss the charges of the Circuit Court of Carolina country. Only by the Supreme Court of the United States it was unanimously resolved that ban on mixed-race marriages violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Thus, the Supreme Court declared not guilty and dismissed the charge. The Supreme Court proclaimed that ban on mixed-racial marriage violated the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment. Thus, the Lovings won the action.
The Impact of the Court’s Decision and How/What Actions Jurisdictions Must Take to Avoid Complaints or Liability Exposure
The decision of the Supreme Court gave the Lovings an opportunity to come back to Carolina Country and live together. This decision protected the Lovings’ marriage as well as guaranteed the rights of citizenship given by the 14th Amendment and showed that the American government succeeded in providing reforms of citizenship clause.
This case had an impact on further development of the American Society. More and more mixed race marriages were effected throughout the country. People then understood that the United States of America made everything possible to protect the rights of all the citizens who lived there. Of course, discrimination still exists in society and some people are still ruled by racial prejudices. Therefore, racial prejudice has its background as from newspapers, TVs and other sources of information, people learn numerous horrible histories about how a black man robbed a white woman. However, people are hardly aware about numerous cases when Afro-Americans become victims of crimes as media never pay attention to it. Naturally, racial discrimination cannot be totally destroyed as people have their own preferences. This phenomenon appeared so long ago that it is impossible now to change people’s attitudes within 10 years. Nevertheless, the government makes everything possible in order to liquidate the vestige of the past.