From the NY Times:
In private correspondence in 1957, Justice Felix Frankfurter said the court was doing all it could to avoid hearing cases that would require giving the nation an answer about whether bans on interracial marriage — anti-miscegenation laws, in the parlance of the day — were constitutional.
“We twice shunted it away,” Justice Frankfurter wrote to Judge Learned Hand, “and I pray we will be able to do it again without being too brazenly evasive.”
Judge Hand responded that “I don’t see how you lads can duck it.”
But Justice Frankfurter was unpersuaded.
“I shall work, within the limits of judicial decency,” he wrote, “to put off decision on miscegenation as long as I can.”
The Supreme Court did not strike down laws banning interracial marriage until 1967, inLoving v. Virginia, when 16 states still had them on the books. That was almost two decades after the California Supreme Court in 1948 struck down a law making illegal “all marriages of white persons with Negroes” in Perez v. Sharp.
It has been just four years since the California Supreme Court, citing Perez, struck down two state laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
“We are in the midst of a major social change,” Justice Carol A. Corrigan wrote in dissent. She said she supported allowing “our gay and lesbian neighbors” to marry. But she said change must come from the political process, not the courts.
“Societies seldom make such changes smoothly,” Justice Corrigan wrote. “For some the process is frustratingly slow. For others it is jarringly fast.”