Naim v. Naim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Naim v. Naim, 197 Va 80; 87 S.E.2d 749 (1955), is a case regarding interracial marriage. The case was decided by the Supreme Court of Virginia on June 13, 1955. The Court held the marriage between the appellant (Han Say Naim) and the appellee (Ruby Elaine Naim) to be void under the Code of Virginia (1950).

The appellee, a white woman living in Virginia, and the appellant, a Chinese man not living in Virginia, went to North Carolina to be married on June 26, 1952, specifically because there was a Virginia statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, banning interracial marriage, while North Carolina law banned marriages between whites and blacks but not between whites and Asians.[1] They then returned to Virginia, where they lived as husband and wife.

A year after the marriage, Ruby Naim filed for annulment, as the marriage was in contravention of Virginia's miscegenation laws, with Han Say Naim arguing that a marriage valid in North Carolina was valid throughout the United States. The circuit court of the city of Portsmouth granted an annulment, but Han Say Naim appealed to the state supreme court, which upheld the circuit court's decision.[2]

The Virginia statute stated:

It shall hereafter be unlawful for any white person in this State to marry any save a white person, or a person with no other admixture of blood than white and American Indian. For the purpose of this chapter, the term 'white person' shall apply only to such person as has no trace whatever of any blood other than Caucasian; but persons who have one-sixteenth or less of the blood of the American Indian and have no other non-Caucasic blood shall be deemed to be white persons. All laws heretofore passed and now in effect regarding the intermarriage of white and colored persons shall apply to marriages prohibited by this chapter[3]

Han Say Naim's attorney, David Carliner, attempted to appeal the state's decision to the Supreme Court of the United States, with the backing of the American Jewish Congress, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Association on American Indian Affairs and the Association of Immigration and Nationality Lawyers.[4] The justices, however, refused to consider the appeal,[5] fearing that to do so would further encourage opposition to the enforcement of Brown v. Board of Education.[6] As Justice Tom C. Clark said, "one bombshell at a time is enough."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Wallenstein, Tell the Court I Love My Wife: Race, Marriage, and Law - An American History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 180-83. (via GoogleBooks)
  2. ^ Charles Frank Robinson II, Dangerous Liaisons: Sex And Love in the Segregated South (University of Arkansas Press, 2003), pp.135-36. (via GoogleBooks)
  3. ^ "Naim v. Naim (1955) - Loving Day". Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  4. ^ Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 226-233. (via GoogleBooks)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  6. ^ Michael J. Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 321-22. (google books)
  7. ^ Delgado, Richard (2012). "Naim v. Naim". Nevada Law Journal. 12. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 

Further references[edit]

  • Gregory Michael Dorr, "Principled Expediency: Eugenics, Naim v. Naim, and the Supreme Court", American Journal of Legal History 42 (1998): 119-159.
  • Dennis J. Hutchinson, "Unanimity and Desegregation: Decisionmaking in the Supreme Court, 1948-1958", Georgetown Law Journal 68 (1979–80): 61-68.