The Statutes Pave V. Alabama & Loving V. Virginia

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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 in the United States: Pace v. Alabama (1883) & Loving v. Virginia (1967). The 1883 case upholds the constitutionality of anti-miscegenation statutes whereas the 1967 case affirms that these statutes are repugnant and unconstitutional. It is important to review these two cases in depth in terms of their facts, issues at hand, and their rulings. Pace v. Alabama & Loving v. Virginia have their differences and similarities but can be considered influential on Brown v. Board of Education and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOM).

In the case Pace v. Alabama, section 4184 of the Code of Alabama provides that if any ‘man and woman live together in adultery or fornication, each of them must, on the first conviction of the offense be fined no less than $100 and may also be imprisoned in the county jail or sentenced to hard labor for the county for not more than six months.’ Also in 1883 the same code as stated above declares that ‘if any white person and any negro, or the descendant of any negro to the third generation, inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation was a white person, intermarry or live in adultery or fornication with each other, each of them must, on conviction, be imprisoned in the penitentiary or sentenced to hard...
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