Supreme Court Ruling

For the Supreme Court Case, the Lovings did not attend the oral arguments in April of 1966, but Richard did tell Attorney Cohen to share his message with the court, “Mr. Cohen, tell the Court I love my wife and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”1 The court later announced its ruling on June 12, 1967, four years after Mildred wrote to Attorney General Kennedy and nine years after the couple got married. The court ruled in unanimous favor of the Lovings, officially banning miscegenation laws and upholding the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.2 As a result of the ruling, the Lovings convictions were overturned and allowed them to return to Virginia legally and raise their children in Caroline County. Loving v. Virginia became a landmark civil rights case and set a precedent for future cases. On behalf of the unanimous court ruling, Chief Justice Warren said, “We have consistently denied the constitutionality of measures which restrict the rights of citizens on account of race. There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.”3

Throughout their court case, Richard and Mildred Loving had stayed out of the limelight, only letting a few journalists interview and photograph them. However, on June 12, they attended a press conference, arranged by their attorneys. There, Mildred Loving said that she feels free, but also that someone had burned a cross in her mother’s front yard in Central Point. Richard was seen as the quiet and reserved one, while Mildred was outspoken and energetic. An example of this is her perseverance and persistence to have the court case pushed through to the Supreme Court in D.C. However, when Richard told their attorneys that he did not want to go to testify or show his face at the highest court, Mildred stayed with him and only spoke after the ruling was announced at their press conference.

CBS Mini Documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court Case
ABC Mini Documentary with interviews
  1. U.S. Supreme Court, Transcript of Oral Arguments in Loving v. Virginia, (Washington: April 10, 1967.) ↩︎
  2. Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967.) ↩︎
  3. Jean M. White, “Court Overturns Virginia’s Ban on Mixed Marriages,” The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973), (Washington: June 13, 1967.) ↩︎