A Judge’s Past Mr. Pickering had a significant effect on his home state’s racist past as early as 1959 when he was a student at the University of Mississippi Law School. He felt it was important to bolster Mississippi’s anti-miscegenation law. A marriage between a black person and a white person was a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But Mr. Pickering recognized there was a loophole in the law that could allow some interracial couples to fall in love and marry without being arrested and sent off to prison. He wrote an article in The Mississippi Law Journal explaining how the law could be fixed

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