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Bernard Cohen, Attorney Who Argued Loving V. Virginia Case, Dies At 86

Bernard Cohen in a 1970s advertising and marketing campaign poster when he ran for the Virginia Dwelling of Delegates. As a lawyer he efficiently argued the Supreme Court case that established the legality of interracial marriage. He died this week at age 86.

Cohen family


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Cohen family

Bernard Cohen in a 1970s advertising and marketing campaign poster when he ran for the Virginia Dwelling of Delegates. As a lawyer he efficiently argued the Supreme Court case that established the legality of interracial marriage. He died this week at age 86.

Cohen family

Bernard Cohen, who as a younger lawyer efficiently argued the Supreme Court case that struck down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriages, has died at age 86.

Cohen died Monday in Fredericksburg, Va. The cause used to be Parkinson’s illness, his family instructed NPR.

Cohen used to be an licensed expert in Alexandria, Va., right just a few years out of legislation college when the American Civil Liberties Union, where he used to be a volunteer, asked if he would opt on the case of Richard and Mildred Loving.

Mildred Loving and her husband Richard Loving in 1965. Bernard Cohen, who efficiently challenged a Virginia legislation banning interracial marriage and later went on to a worthwhile political profession as a Virginia advise legislator, has died at age 86.

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Mildred Loving and her husband Richard Loving in 1965. Bernard Cohen, who efficiently challenged a Virginia legislation banning interracial marriage and later went on to a worthwhile political profession as a Virginia advise legislator, has died at age 86.

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Mildred used to be Dark and Native American, and Richard used to be white. They had married in 1958 in Washington, D.C., where interracial marriage used to be correct. But on returning home to Virginia, they had been arrested, jailed and barred from the advise for 25 years for violating the advise’s Racial Integrity Act.

Cohen took the case, working with co-counsel Philip Hirschkop, and the case went to the preferrred court in the land. He argued the Lovings and their childhood had the dazzling to feel safe below the legislation right cherish any diversified family.

“And that is the dazzling of Richard and Mildred Loving to gain up in the morning or to head to sleep at night time incandescent that the sheriff may well presumably now now not be knocking on their door or radiant a gentle of their face in the privateness of their bed room for illicit co-habitation,” he instructed the court.

'Illicit Cohabitation': Listen To 6 Stunning Moments From Loving V. Virginia

The Supreme Court’s unanimous 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia overturned the couple’s conviction – and nullified anti-miscegenation laws in Virginia and bigger than a dozen diversified states. Interracial marriage used to be now correct in each advise in the union.

Rae Cohen, Bernard’s wife of 61 years, remembers events that instructed now now not all people in Alexandria used to be proud of her husband’s role in the case.

“There had been a couple little incidents,” she says. “We lived in a home that did now now not like a storage. I discovered sugar in my gasoline tank one morning.”

“And a few sinful telephone calls. Your mind desires to neglect these items,” she says with fun.

The Cohens kept in contact with the Lovings after the case, enjoying visits with Mildred till her loss of life in 2008.

“They had been very easy folks, who had been now now not in winning any civil rights understanding,” Bernard Cohen talked about of the Lovings in a 2007 interview with NPR.

“They right had been in love with one any other and wished the dazzling to are residing together as husband and wife in Virginia, with out any interference from officialdom. As soon as I instructed Richard that this case used to be, in all chance, going to head to the Supreme Court of the usa, he was extensive-eyed and his jaw dropped,” he remembered.

Loving Decision: 40 Years of Legal Interracial Unions

Bernard Sol Cohen used to be born in Brooklyn in 1934. He graduated from the Metropolis College of Unique York in 1956 with an economics stage, and from Georgetown Law College four years later. Apart from to his wife, he’s survived by his childhood Bennett and Karen, as effectively as three grandchildren.

From 1980 to 1996, Cohen served in the Virginia Dwelling of Delegates, as a Democrat representing Alexandria. He pushed for dazzling-to-die legislation, commuter rail in the advise, and a ban on smoking indoors in public areas. He wasn’t in a arena to gain through a ban on smoking in eating areas, his daughter Karen remembers, but managed to gain the No longer recent Assembly to ban smoking in elevators.

He left the advise assembly in 1996 when he determined it had develop into too harmful, his daughter says.

“He had Republican chums and Republican colleagues who he revered and admired they usually revered and admired him,” says Karen Cohen. “And he constantly felt that [you can have] correct neatly mannered civil discourse and also prospects are you’ll presumably perhaps presumably disagree, but there used to be under no circumstances any must be sinful.”

His family says that since his loss of life, there used to be an outpouring of remembrances and gratitude.

A few of those messages had been from strangers who like interracial marriages of their very personal – and express they like got a honest appropriate time “Loving Day” each twelve months on June 12.

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