Maryland’s attorney general announced Monday that he has overruled opinions that upheld or applied unconstitutional racially discriminatory laws.
In an opinion addressed to General Assembly leaders, Attorney General Brian Frosh formally overruled the opinions, saying that while changes in the law may have made them unenforceable, “we recognize that the opinions continue to serve as a reminder of the history of racial injustice perpetuated through the legal institutions of our State government.”
Many relied on the restriction of interracial marriage and the doctrine of “separate but equal” in public facilities, the attorney general’s office said in a news release. Some reviewed opinions advised that racially discriminatory laws should continue to be enforced and others applied discriminatory laws without addressing the issue of their constitutionality, the office said.
“We hope that our opinion today will help remove the stain of those earlier, harmful and erroneous works,” Frosh said in a statement.
The review of opinions dating back to 1916 was inspired by a review by former Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who reversed more than 50 legal opinions before leaving office earlier this year, Frosh’s opinion states.
Frosh, a Democrat, did not seek reelection this year and will be succeeded in January by fellow Democrat Rep. Anthony Brown, who will be Maryland’s first Black attorney general.