a law banning interracial marriage

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
The Warren Court handed down so many decisions expanding civil rights that the era has sometimes been called a rights revolution. The Warren court expanded the protections of free speech and assembly under the First Amendment and freedom of the press in the New York Times v. Sullivan decision. It struck down a law banning interracial marriage in the most appropriately named case ever, Loving v. Virginia.
The 1960s in America_ Crash Course US History #40

Using the indefinite article seems incorrect to me. It was a decision that cancelled all state laws regarding miscegenation that had existed by that time in some states of the US. How could you refer to them as "a law"?
Thank you.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It isn’t incorrect at all. (Assuming you’re talking about the grammar?)

    What did they do? They dissolved a particular type of law. What type of law? One that banned interracial marriage. That is, a law banning interracial marriage.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I expect someone knowledgeable about US legal matters will reply, but I expect that the language is correct. The court struck down Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924, but from what I have read, I am not sure if it struck down every state's anti-interracial marriage laws; Alabama still had a law banning interracial marriage in 2000, but it had been unenforceable since Loving v Virginia.

    However, in terms of the significance of the ruling, I agree with you; "a law" seems very much an understatement.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I expect someone knowledgeable about US legal matters will reply, but I expect that the language is correct. The court struck down Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924, but from what I have read, I am not sure if it struck down every state's anti-interracial marriage laws; Alabama still had a law banning interracial marriage in 2000, but it had been unenforceable since Loving v Virginia.

    However, in terms of the significance of the ruling, I agree with you; "a law" seems very much an understatement.
    Thank you.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It looks like the ruling in that landmark case only applied to Virginia. But presumably it had a knock-on effect, by setting a precedent.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It can't mean that it struck down all such laws; it has to mean that it struck down one law.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    Standard General American English USA
    The Warren Court handed down so many decisions expanding civil rights that the era has sometimes been called a rights revolution. The Warren court expanded the protections of free speech and assembly under the First Amendment and freedom of the press in the New York Times v. Sullivan decision. It struck down a law banning interracial marriage in the most appropriately named case ever, Loving v. Virginia.
    The 1960s in America_ Crash Course US History #40

    Using the indefinite article seems incorrect to me. It was a decision that cancelled all state laws regarding miscegenation that had existed by that time in some states of the US. How could you refer to them as "a law"?
    Thank you.
    He's not really referring to them, and they would not be one law. He's referring to one of them, the one from the state of Virginia.

    This was one case with one law of that type. Because this refers to one law of a number of laws of that type, we use "a" indefinite article.

    Individual states have individual laws. This particular law was a law in the state of Virginia.

    This was a Supreme Court ruling. Supreme Court rulings override state laws in the United States.

    All states have their own laws. However, if the federal government, meaning the Supreme Court, steps in, then a Supreme Court ruling prevails. Justices, meaning judges (nine of them), on the Supreme Court, together, decide whether or not they should hear a case.
     
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    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    This case he's referring to struck down all state laws, and that's why it was a watershed:
    Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967),[1] was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage as violations of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[2]
    Loving v. Virginia - Wikipedia
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Whatever the facts of the case, Vic, the wording of the quote in post 1 says that only one law was struck down. Perhaps the video adds supplementary information afterwards?
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    Standard General American English USA
    This case he's referring to struck down all state laws, and that's why it was a watershed:
    Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967),[1] was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage as violations of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[2]
    Loving v. Virginia - Wikipedia

    Supreme Court rulings set precedents for other cases that may be argued at the state level.

    The Supreme Court struck down one law of this type. That's why it's "a" indefinite article.

    One case against one state law has a domino effect. This affects the rest of all other such laws of this type.

    In effect, we could think of the US Supreme Court, at the federal level, as being "the moderator" for all state courts and all state laws, including cities, towns, and any other municipality.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Some more from Wikipedia:

    The Court struck down Virginia's anti-miscegenation law, thereby overruling the 1883 case Pace v. Alabama and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.

    Supreme Court rulings set precedents for other cases that may be argued at the state level.

    The Supreme Court struck down one law of this type. That's why it's "a" indefinite article.
    It struck down all such laws in all states, in one case, it was not a "precedent", it just ended it all over the US. It was the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Whatever the facts of the case, Vic, the wording of the quote in post 1 says that only one law was struck down. Perhaps the video adds supplementary information afterwards?
    I.e., you don't agree with LB's idea of "a type of law"?

    No, it's just a short 15-minute review of the '60s, and the OP quote is all he had to say on that...
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The Court struck down Virginia's anti-miscegenation law,
    Again, the statement is that it struck down one law. The effect may have been that many laws were struck down; but the statement as written relates to one law.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    Standard General American English USA
    Some more from Wikipedia:

    The Court struck down Virginia's anti-miscegenation law, thereby overruling the 1883 case Pace v. Alabama and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.


    It struck down all such laws in all states, in one case, it was not a "precedent", it just ended it all over the US. It was the U.S. Supreme Court.


    I.e., you don't agree with LB's idea of "a type of law"?

    No, it's just a short 15-minute review of the '60s, and the OP quote is all he had to say on that...

    That's all he had to say, okay. However, that's enough to understand why he used "a" indefinite article.

    In any event, functions of the Supreme Court aside, this is one law of other laws of its type. It's not that the law would be the exact same law in each state. It's that some states would have their own individual law with all of these laws being very similar to each other, which is to say all of these laws would have the same effect but not be the exact same law word for word. Laws can be very complicated. Again, that's why he uses "a" indefinite article.

    If the Supreme Court says that this type of law is not good for Virginia, then this also means that all other laws of this type are not good for any other states.

    With respect to the word "precedent", lawyers look to the Supreme Court to see what that court has set as a precedent in other cases they argue at the town, city, state, or federal level. In effect, they can say, though not in these words, "But this is what the Supreme Court said". Supreme Court decisions can have the effect of setting precedents, which can then be used to argue other cases. Or Supreme Court decisions can have the effect of striking down other laws of a similar type at the state level, which is, yes, what happened here.
     
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