Author: J. L. Bugg


Robert Y. Button (1899–1977)

Robert Y. Button was Virginia’s attorney general from 1962 to 1970. The Culpeper native was among the many small-town attorneys who contributed to the success of Harry F. Byrd Sr.‘s Democratic political machine. Button served for fifteen years in the Senate of Virginia, where he backed the Byrd Organization‘s policies of Massive Resistance and fiscal conservatism. During his two terms as attorney general his office defended Virginia’s racial segregation laws, legislative reapportionment, voter registration procedures, and the poll tax. Most notably, his assistants lost in the landmark cases Griffin et al. v. County School Board of Prince Edward County et al. (1964), which invalidated the practice of closing county schools and funding private segregated academies, and Loving v. Virginia (1967), which invalidated Virginia’s law against interracial marriages.

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