WASHINGTON — In an interview with Jet magazine Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas reveled that if he had been on the court in 1967, when it made its historic decision in the Loving v. Virginia case, he probably would have voted to uphold Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The unanimous decision in that landmark civil rights case found that state laws that criminalized interracial marriage were unconstitutional. Justice Thomas is well-known for his strict adherence to the concept of original intent when interpreting the constitution. However, most observers of the court were surprised that he would have extended those principles to the Loving case. His revelation is especially surprising since Justice Thomas, an African-American, is married to Virginia Thomas, who is white. By saying that he would have voted to uphold that Virginia law it indicates that he believes that the federal government should not intercede if a state chooses to outlaw interracial marriage.
“I know that people are going to go all off the rails when they find out my opinion on the Loving decision. It’s important to stress that I am not in favor of any sort of anti-miscegenation law. All I am saying is that if I had been on the court in ‘67 I would probably have decided that those laws are best left to the discretion of the states. At the time of that decision there were only 16 states that still had anti-miscegenation laws. If the court had found in favor of the Commonwealth of Virginia those laws would eventually all been repealed on a state by state basis. The reality is that all 16 of those states have abolished those laws, the last one was in Alabama in 2000. If the court had allowed the Virginia law to stand it would have only taken 33 years before inter-racial marriage would have been legal in all 50 states.”