Va. Justice Carrico had me in hysterics before I learned he affirmed criminalizing miscegenation.

04 Feb Va. Justice Carrico had me in hysterics before I learned he affirmed criminalizing miscegenation.

By Jon Katz, a criminal defense lawyer, drug defense lawyer, marijuana defense lawyer, and DWI/ DUI/ Drunk Driving lawyer advocating in Fairfax County, Virginia, Montgomery County, Maryland, and beyond for the best possible results for his clients.

As with all new admittees to the Virginia Bar, I was required to take a one-day course for new admittees. During lunch, then state Supreme Court Justice Harry Carrico had me laughing with his sympathetically humorous talk about responding to an inmate’s letter using "myself" and "yourself", just as the inmate had as a replacement for pronouns.

Fast forward over fifteen years later to last week, when I learned that the late Justice Carrico penned the Virginia Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion allowing the criminalization of racial intermarriage, which the United States Supreme Court unanimously reversed in 1967. Although Justice Carrico’s Loving opinion said that the matter had already been settled a decade earlier by Virginia’s Supreme Court he had a duty to vote against miscegenation as unconstitutional nonetheless, but passed up that opportunity. Similarly, even though the United States Supreme Court majority in 1986 wrongly decided that states could constitutionally criminalize adult consensual sodomy, sixteen years later a majority of that court admitted that the 1986 decision was wrong and overruled it.

Racism still runs too rampant, and has not been limited to the South, where it has been the most overt. By my having relocated from the Northeast to the South (moving to Arlington, Virginia, when I started law school in 1986), I was braced for reminders of ugly side of the South, versus just "Virginia is for lovers."

How much did Justice Carrico change, or not, after affirming miscegenation in the Loving decision? That likely has been written about; I just have not looked for nor found such information, yet.

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