Everything in Hollywood's historical movies is true, right?

OK, There are known counterexamples.....

The recent film Loving is about the case in which Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, who resided in Caroline County, Virginia, married in the District of Columbia and resided in Virginia in violation of that state's Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which forbade marriage between a white person and a colored person (apparently "colored" included everyone not considered white).

The defendants pled guilty and were sentenced to one year in prison and the sentence was suspended on condition that for 25 years they would never both be in the state of Virginia at the same time. Several years later, the ACLU took up their case.

As nearly as I understood the situation from the film: Their lawyer, Bernard Cohen, asked the judge to change his mind and the judge stonewalled him for a while. Since the deadline for appeal had passed and the case was closed, nothing compelled the judge to answer or to do anything. But then for some reason the judge wrote an opinion defending the statute. He wrote that God put different races on different continents and that that showed he intended no mixing of races. The judge's opinion created a new opportunity for appeal. Cohen then took the case to the highest court in Virginia and lost, and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So what I wondered is: Why did the judge not just continue stonewalling?

Wikipedia's article about the case says:

On October 28, 1964, after waiting almost a year for a response to their motion, the ACLU attorneys brought a class action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. This prompted the county court judge in the case, Leon M. Bazile, to issue a ruling on the long-pending motion to vacate.

If the class action was in the film I missed it somehow. So now my questions are:

  1. Am I right that the case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court was the one from Caroline County and not the class action in federal court?

  2. What became of the class action?

  3. Did the class action in federal court somehow make the county judge decide to issue a ruling that he otherwise would not have had a reason to issue? How does that work?

  • 1
    ok, So now I've seen most of the film another time and it says the lawyer intended to "file a 1983 motion" in order to force Judge Bazile's hand. The screenwriter said "I shared it with the lawyers and they said, “That’s not a 2137 motion, that’s a 1983 motion. Can you change that line?” So what is a "1983 motion"? creativescreenwriting.com/loving Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 5:52
  • "what is a 1983 motion" - It refers to law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1983
    – D M
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 18:16
  • @DM : So is this some sort of exception to the fact that judges are not held liable for their judicial decisions? Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 0:31
  • I don't know enough to say for sure on that.
    – D M
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 18:07


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