Loving vs. Virginia lawyer Bernard Cohen

Bernie___Rae_Cohen_marching.jpegWhen I first moved to Virginia from New Jersey, I was lucky enough to be taken in by Bernard Cohen, an extraordinary trial lawyer from Alexandria, Virginia. Bernard, “Bernie” to his friends and family, was not only one of Old Town’s legal elite, he also served in the Virginia legislature for many years, looking out for the interests of injured victims, their families and counsel. It was his son’s wedding that I rushed from the Columbia (MARYLAND!) Triathlon finish line to make at noon, in Spotsylvania! We have been close ever since I spent time at his lovely family’s home in 1982 before finding a place of my own.

Bernie has been in the news lately, as one of his famous clients passed away. Mildred Loving, of the U. S. Supreme Court case “Loving vs. Virginia,” passed away. That case was one of Bernie’s many great triumphs. It was also a case I studied that year in Constitutional Law. Overturning the law that forbade Mr. Loving from marrying and living with his wife in the Commonwealth in the 1960s was made into a terrific movie, “The Lovings of Virginia.” I recommend that you see it, as it is about a law that existed not too long ago, that today most Americans would be surprised to know was enforced by jail and criminal prosecution. Overturning the miscegenation law forever united Bernie Cohen and the Lovings. We are all saddened by her passing and send condolences to her family.


2 responses on “Loving vs. Virginia lawyer Bernard Cohen

  1. Ellen Harmon

    Besides being a great lawyer and political figure, Bernie was also an educator. He spoke many times to my Government classes at TC Williams high school in Virginia. His talks were always informative and well received by my students. Thanks Bernie!

  2. Kevin M. Raymond

    I met Bernie and his lovely wife on a Road Scholar trip to Florida about two years ago. A wonderful couple…..and Bernie was a very humble person among all the other attendees. His wife, Rae, told me Bernie’s story. A humble attorney with goodness, ethics, morality and humility on his side. He did introduce himself to the attendees as a former member of the General Assembly who was a civil rights attorney. I asked Rae, before I knew their story, how did one become a civil rights attorney during the 60s!!!! She told me…………Great great story!!
    Kevin M. Raymond
    Dale City, Virginia

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