ir.gif

The Loving Story

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Tonight HBO premieres a new documentary about one of the most important marriages in American history.  And their name was Loving.

They should have been able to have the quiet life they hoped for.  Mildred and Richard Loving were residents of Virginia who were married in the District of Columbia in 1958.  The law of their home state prohibited marriage between people of different races.  Mildred was black and Native American and Richard was white.

Police broke into their Virginia home while they were asleep in bed and accused them of the crime of sex outside of marriage.  Mrs. Loving pointed to their marriage certificate on the wall in their defense, but that constituted another crime, the crime of miscegenation, a felony punishable with up to five years in prison.  They were sentenced to a year in prison, suspended on the condition that they leave the state.

The case filed by the ACLU went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in 1967 that miscegenation laws violated the United States Constitution.

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

They were together until Mr. Loving was killed in an automobile accident in 1975.  Mrs. Loving made a rare public statement in 2007 in support of extending the same right granted to her by the Supreme Court to gay couples. She died the following year.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

 

Related Tags:

 

Documentary Television

Supreme Court to Rule on Limiting Sales of Violent Games to Kids

Posted on April 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

Is there a First Amendment right to sell violent video games to children and teenagers?
The California legislature said no. They enacted a law imposing a fine of up to $1000 on retailers who sell violent games to anyone under age 18. Games like the best-selling Grand Theft Auto contain explicit brutal violence and sex. The player directs his character to murder other characters with Uzis and have sex with prostitutes. The Parents Television Council reports:

The beatings are intense and the number of weapons available is staggering. One can use a baseball bat, screwdriver, machete, or even a chainsaw to attack pedestrians to get small amounts of cash. As you attack and beat innocents, blood sprays the concrete. If you wound your victim and they try to run, you can chase them by following the blood trail. You can also get quick money by hitting people with your car.

These games are rated for mature audiences by the industry’s ratings board, but that is not meaningful if a child or young teen can buy it in the store.
The federal appeals court threw out the law as invalid. They said that video games are protected by the same First Amendment rights as books and any attempt to restrict their sale was unconstitutional. They said there was no proof that these games were harmful to children.
This is a collision of two principles — our commitment to freedom of expression and our commitment to protecting children.
This week, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to consider the case. The New York Times reports that

Michael D. Gallagher, the president of the Entertainment Software Association, said First Amendment protections should apply to video games just as they do to books, films and music. Industry self-regulation is working, he said, and it is harder for minors to buy M-rated games than it is to buy R-rated DVDs.

This is a tough challenge for the Court. And it is an even tougher one for parents.

Related Tags:

 

Internet, Gaming, Podcasts, and Apps Parenting Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Replacing Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court

Posted on April 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Justice John Paul Stevens is retiring from the Supreme Court and I am very proud that my sister, Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow, is one of the candidates currently under consideration as his replacement.
She’d be a great justice and I know she is very honored to have been invited to be a possible candidate for the nomination.

Related Tags:

 

Commentary

List: Movie Judges

Posted on May 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm

supreme-court.jpgAs President Obama thinks about his selection to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter, it is a good time to take a look at some memorable movie judges.
1. Anatomy of a Murder Real-life lawyer — and real-life American hero — Joseph Welch plays the judge in this spell-binding story of a murder trial, based on a real-life case in a novel written by Robert Traver (pen name of John Donaldson Voelker, a Michigan Supreme Court justice). You can see Welch’s stand against Joseph McCarthy in Point of Order!
2. The Supreme Court A superb documentary about our government’s smallest and least transparent branch.
3. The Talk of the Town Ronald Coleman plays a law professor whose appointment to the Supreme Court is jeopardized when his landlady hides an anarchist (Cary Grant) from the authorities in the farmhouse where he is staying. The two men engage in a spirited debate about the law and a competition for the heart of the lovely landlady.
4. Separate But Equal Sidney Poitier plays Thurgood Marshall in the story of Brown v. the Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that may have had the most significant impact on the lives of all Americans. It is as gripping as any thriller, especially for those who find it hard to imagine a time when segregation in schools was legal. The way this case was assembled and presented is at time shocking, all the more reason that it is a must-see. Marshall, who argued the case, later became the first black Supreme Court justice. Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All is his story.
5. Stranger in Town Frank Morgan, who played the title character in The Wizard of Oz plays a Supreme Court justice on a hunting trip who gets caught up in a small town’s political dispute.

Related Tags:

 

For Your Netflix Queue Lists

The FCC, the Supreme Court, and the F- and S-Words

Posted on November 4, 2008 at 8:00 am

As we go to the polls today, honoring our Constitution’s fundamental principles of representative democracy, another key element of Constitutional system of checks and balances is also at work. And it may include consideration of yet another key founding principle of the United States, the right of freedom of speech and the press under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations. The FCC, an independent agency of the federal government, will argue that it has the authority to ban “fleeting” expletives after the FCC issued warnings to broadcasters after celebrities used certain terms in live broadcasts.
The case is not strictly speaking a First Amendment case. As legal challenges often do, it relates more specifically to the procedures followed by the FCC in determining their policy on the words at issue. And as always happens with high-profile Supreme Court cases, there have been many filings by “amici” (“friends of the court”) — advocacy groups, television producers, even the pediatrician’s trade association — all expressing their views about who should decide what is appropriate, when they should decide it, and how the decision should be implemented. A group of former FCC Commissioners and staff wrote that while they were “not without sympathy” for the the FCC’s views on obscenity, they were concerned about:
decisions that have transformed a hitherto moderate policy of policing only the most extreme cases of indecent broadcast programming into a campaign of regulatory surveillance that will chill the production of all but the blandest of broadcast programming.
The words at issue raise an interesting problem in the arguments before the Court, where lawsuits are always argued with decorum and formality. According to the Supreme Court blog SCOTUS:
Unless Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., intervenes, some of the argument in the Supreme Court chamber next Tuesday morning may sound at times like a typical conversation in a seventh grade boys’ restroom — the uninhibited use of four-letter words.
And, if Roberts allows it, such a display of blue language will be heard on TV and radio — in the middle part of the day — across America, and may be read the next morning in many newspapers. But, apparently, not in every news outlet.
The Court may very well rule that the FCC may not interfere with the “fleeting” use of these words on the air. And they may do so without using the words themselves, as they did in the famous case where they upheld the use of the f-word in a political protest. They noted that the word could be considered indispensable to make exactly the objection that the protester wanted to without saying what the word was.
According to the book, The Brethren, Burger approached Justice John M. Harlan, the opinion’s author, and said: “John, you’re not going to use ‘that word’ in delivering the opinion are you? It would be the end of the Court if you use it, John.” And Harlan did not. It was included, though, in the Court’s opinion finding that Cohen’s First Amendment rights had been violated. Justice Harlan described Cohen’s message as one involving a “scurrilous epithet,” but he also wrote: “While the particular four-letter word being litigated here is perhaps more distasteful than most others of its genre, it is nevertheless often true that one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.”
What should the policy be about the language used on broadcast television? There are no restrictions on the language used on cable programs. The last time the Court ruled on this issue it made a distinction based on the unique availability of broadcast television and radio for children. But in a world of internet, podcasts, and DVDs (not to mention schoolyards, shopping malls, and newspaper articles), that distinction no longer applies. I look forward to reports on the arguments and to the Court’s decision.

Related Tags:

 

Commentary Television Understanding Media and Pop Culture
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik