Wayfinding: Cohen, Hirschkop & Hall
Cohen, Hirschkop & Hall
Loving v. Virginia
''Mr. Cohen, tell the court I love my wife and it is just unfair that I can't live with her in Virginia."
-- Richard Loving
The law office of Bernard Cohen and Philip Hirschkop was here at 110 N. Royal Street on June 12, 1967, the day they were notified that their Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia had been decided unanimously in their favor. The plaintiffs, Mildred and Richard Loving, had sued the Commonwealth of Virginia for its ban on interracial marriage. The day after the decision was announced, the Lovings held a press conference in the office of their attorneys in Suite 300. The ruling by the Supreme Court not only voided Virginia's anti-miscegenation law but legalized interracial marriage throughout the country.
Hirschkop later recalled how he and Cohen learned of the decision:
I had a call from a reporter at the old Washington Star. He was their Supreme Court reporter [and he said] that it would be coming down the next morning. So, we're in our office. We had clerks in those days. We didn't have the electronic ability to ... [get] the opinion as soon as it came down .... we were sitting in the library on Royal Street-when we got that opinion [delivered]. And I spoke with the reporter because he had [already] had a chance to read it. .. before we ... got it from [the Supreme Court clerk's] office. So, I knew what was in it. And then we had a secretary place a call to the Loving.
After the decision, the Lovings lived together in Caroline County, Virginia, until 1975 when Richard was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. Mildred never remarried and continued to live in Caroline County until her death in 2008.
Loving v. Virginia was one of the many court cases that formed the legal argument for civil rights and asserted that the right to marry was a constitutional right. The case was consistently cited in the 2015 Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage.
'Under our Constitution, the freed om to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."
-- Opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court Loving v. Virginia, Chief Justice Earl Warren, June 12, 1967
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