Mildred Loving Speaks

Slate's blog on legal issues.
May 6 2008 11:24 AM

Mildred Loving Speaks

Mildred Loving, who along with her husband, Richard, was a plaintiff in the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia , passed away May 2. Her obituary is here . In Loving v. Virginia , the Supreme Court held that laws banning interracial marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause both because they violated principles of racial equality and because they abridged a fundamental right to marry. The case is doctrinally important for many reasons, including the court's recognition that the Equal Protection Clause protects certain fundamental rights, for its recognition of a fundamental right to marry, for its application of strict scrutiny to strike down racial classifications (an idea first raised in the Korematsu decision, which had nevertheless upheld the classification), and for its embrace of an anti-subordination as well as an an anti-classification model of race equality.

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Jack M. Balkin is Knight professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.