The Statutes

The Statutes






The Statutes

Miscegenation simply means marriage or cohabitation between two people from different racial groups especially in the U S between the black person and a white. Anti-miscegenation statutes were established laws in United States of America until the point when they were ruled as unconstitutional in 1967 by the Supreme Court. This is because they were against the intermarriages between the whites and the colored persons. These statutes emanated purely from the social and economic considerations. This was dictated in the decision held in the cases as below:

Case 1: Loving v. Virginia 388U.S. 1 (1967)

The state of Virginia at this time enacted the laws that made it a felony for the white person to intermarry with the black or vice versa. The state had their own argument that because its miscegenation statutes punished both the white and black participants equally then it cannot be said to amount to racial discrimination. The issue arising were two first was the rational basis the proper standard of review by which to evaluate the constitutionality of the statute and secondly, was the Virginia miscegenation statutes constitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. The court held that that the mere fact a statute is one of equal application doesn’t mean that it is exempt from strict scrutiny review. The statutes in their drafting were based on the race distinctions. Equal protection requires that such kind of classifications be subject to “most rigid scrutiny”. Justice Stewart argued that it is not possible for a state law to be valid, which makes the criminality of an act depend upon the race of the actor. The Rule made was that the miscegenation statute was improper because it made the legal consequences of an action turn on the races of the participants.

CASE 2: Zablocki v. Redhail 434 U.S. 374, (1978)

Wisconsin statute forced individuals to receive court permission in order to marry if they have a minor issue not in their custody which they were obligated to pay support for. The appellant was unable to receive court permission under the statute and brought suit on behalf of all residents similarly situated. The issue arising was whether the Wisconsin statute that provides that members of a certain class of residents cannot marry , within the state or elsewhere , without first obtaining a court order granting permission to marry constitutional. The Rule was that the statute was unconstitutional because it interfered significantly with the exercise of the fundamental rights and was not sufficiently supported by the important state interest. The right to marry is protected by the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment.

Following keenly the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution prohibits classifications drawn by any statute that constitutes arbitrary and discrimination. The two cases differ in the sense that the Loving case the state would punish both parties involved regardless of the race as long as it was intermarriage. In the Zablocki case the distinction was that there had to be a court order for one to get married to a certain class of individual. Similarities in the two above cases are as follows; both were a violation and interference of the fundamental rights, in both there was racial discrimination, the state officials acted ultra vires.

The Analysis on how this statute could have influenced Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) and the Fourteenth Amendment. The facts of the case Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954) were that the black children had been denied admission to the community public schools where only the white children attended. The laws required segregation by race. The issue arising was whether the Fourteenth Amendment permitted the “separate but equal” doctrine, and whether the educational environments of the plaintiffs were equal to their white counterparts. Warren ruled that it is the intangible factors that make the segregation laws in an area of public education “inherently un equal” and that the laws then were unconstitutional.

A similar scenario was established in the case of Bolling v. Sharpe 374 US.497 (1954). This case marked the beginning of the transformation of the law on segregation. The facts were as follows, the parents in Washington D.C petitioned their local primary school board to open a new junior high school as an integrated school. The board denied the petition. Later a local black college professor filed a lawsuit against the board action stating they were unconstitutional in the district court. The case was rejected and the Supreme Court granted certiorari upon the plaintiff’s appeal. This was because of the constitutional question presented. Washington was governed by the federal laws and not the state law this therefore meant that the 14th Amendment did not govern it. The petitioner went further to argue that segregation of public schools children violates due process clause of the 5th Amendment.

The issue arising was whether the segregation within schools in a federal district is unconstitutional violation of the due process clause in the 5th Amendment. In the analysis of the facts the court held that it was unconstitutional. The 14th Amendment regarding equal protection is inapplicable in a federal district. The court, Justice Warren, then stated that even without the consideration of the 14th Amendment application the constitution is being violated when the student are not allowed to attend certain schools on the segregation basis. Due process is therefore violated when the policies of segregation exists as is equal protection. It’s also important to note that discrimination violates the due process and courts ought to overrule the policy on that basis. Equal protection clause doesn’t have greater application to schools desegregation but due process has sufficient relevance as well. The rule then became that the equal opportunity be ideal regardless of the race of the person.

Looking at the application of the law in the cases above the Justices were by no means eager to push an equal rights agenda on the matter of miscegenation. These cases, particularly the Brown case we see that the justices are guided by the 14th amendment in addressing the citizenship right to all persons born or naturalized in the United States and equal protection of the law. The amendment was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American civil war. In relation to the application of the anti- miscegenation laws which were a creation of the social and economic growth, the whites perpetuated the racial hierarchy by establishing a system of laws that enforced the physical separation of the races among these, laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

I would then make inference that the white were threatened that the blacks would out number them. For example, in Ferrall v. Ferrall, the court refused to permit a man to abandon his family on the grounds that his wife was negro “within the prohibited degree,” although she appeared white, holding that the law may not permit him thus to bastardize his own innocent children. By declaring the inalienability of this “shared ‘race-as-property,” the court was able to conceive all whites as members of a family thus treating blood as a form of collective property. Thus, the task of miscegenation law was defining the boundaries of this extended family, and making this property stable.

The 14th amendment outlines what the state officials can and can’t do when dealing with the U.S. citizens and matters of public administration .it also provides for what due process. Due process comes in two facets the procedural and the substantive. Procedural due process means that the government can never impose anything on the citizen without sufficient notice, oral hearing and a right to decision making. The substantive due process which is the essential facet with regard to the case studies looks at securing the various fundamental rights listed in the Bill of rights. Violation of these substantive rights may prevent the government from imposing the burden upon the citizens. In the Browns case we see the racial segregation of the black children from white yet they form part of the citizenry of United States whether by birth or by naturalization. Out of the discrimination and racism led to the establishment of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Following the strict provisions of the law, the 14th amendment doesn’t provide for separate but equal as put by the imposers of the states legislature but considers all persons or citizens of US as equal altogether. In the research process while looking at the anti-miscegenation cases above, it was noted that the existence of damaging link between racial intermarriage and black self-image would bring self-awareness, identification and segregate based on the skin color ought not to be ignored. The anti-miscegenation statutes were categorical and would dictate how the various races would operate. They would not easily mix or allowed to mingle freely with the whites and that was very eminent in the case of Brown by automatically declining the admission of the colored children to the whites primary school in fact in Scott v. State, 39 Ga. 321, 324 (1869) court put it in upholding the constitutionality of an anti-miscegenation statute stating that, “The amalgamation of the races is not only unnatural but is always productive of deplorable results.”(Browning, 1951). Further we see the segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson 163 U.S. 537(1896) as to the areas allocated to the different races though this particular case ruling was overturned.

In conclusion, the following is the significance of this statute to Defense of Marriage Act (DOM). DOMA was adopted in 1996 as law. Those in support of this law stated that it validated the traditional recognition of marriage between one man and one woman for federal purposes. The same act clarified the terms “marriage” and “spouse” for federal purposes. The act confirmed the right of states to determine the issues of same sex marriage for their own state. The significance of the statutes to the DOMA arises where the discrimination is raised on the same sex marriage even after the law has been passed by the present time presidents. In 2013 the federal government stated that couples in California have the same rights through the civil unions as per the constitution yet doesn’t allow couples to get married simply because they are of same sex and are being treated differently as required by the constitution. The segregation that would then exist in the DOMA provisions would not be new but those that have precedents on how to be handled.

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