Dredd Scott Essay, Research Paper
The Dredd Scott instance involved a landmark determination in the history of the Supreme Court, in the history ofthe United States the determination in this instance was one of the most detrimental statements in the history of theSupreme Court, affecting the citizenship of a black individual in the United States, and theconstitutionality of the Missouri Compromise in 1820. The history of a black adult male named Dredd Scottstates that he was a slave originally owed by a household by the name of Blow, which ended up selling himin 1833 to an ground forces sawbones by the name of Dr. John Emerson of St. Luis. Due to his engagement as anarmy sawbones, Emerson was transferred to legion topographic points such as Rock Island, Illinois, Fort Snelling inthe Wisconsin Territory so back to St. Louis in the terminal of 1838. Scott had accompanied Emersonthroughout this period. Emerson had taken Scott to topographic points that forbidden slavery harmonizing to theMissouri Compromise of 1820 and Scott was even allowed to get married during this! clip period on free district, his comrade being a adult female who was besides a slave owned by Emerson. AsEmerson and Scott had returned to St. Louis, a district where bondage was legal, Emerson died and Scottwas left to his widow, who finally gave Scott back to his original proprietors, the Blows. Henry Blow, Scott s original maestro, was opposed to the extension of bondage into the Western districts, and Blowlent Scott s abode on free dirt in Illinois and Wisconsin Territory had made him a free adult male. In1846, Dredd Scott brought suit in the province tribunal on the evidences that residence in a free territoryreleased him from bondage. A lower province tribunal had found to be in favour of Scott, but in 1852, theSupreme Court of Missouri ruled that upon his return to territory where bondage was legal, the position ofslavery was reattached to him and hence he had no standing before the tribunal. The instance was broughtbefore the federal circuit tribunal, which took legal power, but held against Scott. The instance was taken onappeal to the Supreme Court, where it was argued at length in 1855 and 1856 and eventually decided in 1857. The determination handed down by a bulk of the ballot of the tribunal was that there was no power in the in theexisting signifier of authorities to do citizens break one’s back or free, ! and at the clip of the formation of the US Constitution they were non and could non be citizens of theUnited States in any of the provinces. Scott was ruled still to be a slave, and non a citizen of Missourior any US province for that affair, from which it followed that he had no right to action in the federalcourts. Now it was non so much the tribunal s determination that was so detrimental, but the series of opinionsthat Roger Taney, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and how we look at it. The tribunal had announced itsdecision on March 6, 1857. By a 7 & # 8211 ; 2 ballot, the tribunal ruled against Scott. Of the seven opinionswritten by the members of the bulk, Chief Justice Taney s is considered to show the forma ; view ofthe Court, and I think that these are the most detrimental statements in the instance. Taney first dealt withthe issues of whether Dredd Scott or any slave or descendent of slaves could be a slave s could be acitizen under the US fundamental law. It was Taney s sentiment as the! bulk of the tribunal that: & # 8220 ; they ( slaves ) are non, and that they are non included, and were notintended to be included, under the word & # 8220 ; citizen & # 8221 ; in the US fundamental law, and can, hence, claim noneof the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the UnitedStates. & # 8221 ; Taney drew this decision from an scrutiny of historical patterns and the purpose of theFramers of the Constitution. & # 8220 ; Slaves, & # 8221 ; he said, & # 8221 ; had more than a century before the Constitution cameinto being been regarded as being of an inferior order, and all together unfit to tie in with thewhite race, in societal or political dealingss ; and so far inferior that they had no rights which thewhite adult male was bound to esteem ; and that the Negro may warrant and legitimately be reduced to slavery forhis benefit & # 8230 ; this sentiment at that clip was fixed and cosmopolitan in the civilised part of the whiterace. & # 8221 ; Even the words & # 8220 ; all work forces are created equal & # 8221 ; in the Declaration of Independence did non adhere tothe black race, as Taney radius of those writers, & # 8220 ; the writers of that declaration absolutely understoodthe significance of the linguistic communication that they used, and how it would be understood by others ; and they knew thatit would non, in any portion of the civilized would, be supposed to embr! one the Negro race, which by common consent, had been excluded by centralised authoritiess and the familyof states, and doomed to slavery. & # 8221 ; Taney even went to the extent of articulating Negroes as merely belongings, nil more. & # 8220 ; Theunhappy black race were separated from the Whites by unerasable Markss, and Torahs long earlier established, and were ne’er thought of or spoken of except as belongings, and when the claims of the proprietor or the profitof the bargainer was supposed to necessitate protection. After let go ofing so many detrimental statements, Taney stillfelt it necessary to discourse whether Scott s abode in Wisconsin Territory made him a free adult male. Taney, observing the Fifth Amendment supplying that no individual shall be deprived of life, autonomy, or theproperty without due procedure of jurisprudence, concluded that, & # 8220 ; an Act of Congress, which deprives a citizen & # 8230 ; ofhis autonomy or belongings into a peculiar District of the United States, and who had committed nooffense against the Torahs, could barely be dignified with the name due procedure of law. & # 8221 ; Therefore, Taneysaid, the part of the Missouri Compromise that prohibited bondage in Thursday! vitamin E Northern part of the Louisiana Purchase was null and Dredd Scott had non been freed by hisresidence in Illinois. Taney said that, & # 8220 ; because Scott was a slave when taken into the province of Illinoisby his proprietor, and was at that place held as such, and brought back in that character, his position, as free orslave depended on that of Missouri, non Illinois. & # 8221 ; The word of this tribunals sentiment on slaves and theircitizenship spread across the land at an unbelievable rate, evoking great unfavorable judgment by newspapers andabolitionist. The opinion and the sentiments stated in the instance fueled the contention over bondage, and isbelieved to hold caused so much choler between the North and the South, to be one of the causes of theCivil War. Beside this, the Court was believed to hold taken the biggest impact itself. An column inthe North American Review in October 1857 stated, & # 8220 ; The state will experience the effects of thisdecision more profoundly and more for good in the loss of assurance! in the sound judicial unity and purely legal character of their courts, than in anything beside ; and this, possibly, may good be accounted the greatest political catastrophe which this state, under ourforms of authorities, could prolong. In another instance that the Taney tribunal handled, Charles River Bridge versus Warren Bridge in 1837bundled together a singular array of constitutional inquiries including the power of a statelegislature to command economic development, the topographic point of monopolies in American economic life, theimpact of technological changed on the jurisprudence and the function of the Supreme Court in oversing province publicpolicy. The instance involved the Owners of Charles River Bridge registering a measure against the WarrenBridge Company for constructing a span indistinguishable to theirs and in the same topographic point as theirs. The CharlesRiver Bridge was chartered by the Massachusetts legislative assembly, giving it the power to roll up tolls, butsaying nil about an sole right to transport traffic over the Charles River. A coevals subsequently, reacting to the demand of increased traffic transporting capacity between Boston and its northern district, the legislative assembly chartered another span, which was finally to go a free B!
ridge, therefore destructing the value of the original Bridgess character. This span, the Warren bri
dge,would be taking away the Charles River bridges profits (toll). They claimed that the erection of Warrenbridge was a violation of their chartered rights and therefore their actions were against theconstitution of Massachusetts an against the constitution of the United States. The Charles Riverproprietors were to be reimbursed for their building the bridge over a total of forty years. after thisforty year period, the bridge was to be property of the commonwealth, and within the period, theproprietors were to pay two-hundred pounds to Harvard college or University in compensation for the moneylost for the ferry income. (The ferry that passed through the Charles River was to lose money due to thebridge that the Charles River proprietors had built. But the building of another bridge was to postponethe proprietors reimbursement, therefore the Charles River proprietors fi!led a suit. The original bridge insisted that it s charter contained an implied monopoly and thatcreation of a new free bridge destroyed the vested rights it enjoyed in that monopoly. The Charles RiverBridge Company challenged the state decision allowing a second bridge saying that within its characterwas the exclusive privilege to carry such traffic. After five days of argument in January 1837, thecourt announced its decision in February and the court rejected the Charles River Proprietors argument. Taney declared that extraordinary privileges, such as exemption form taxation or monopoly from a bridgesite, may not be read into a corporate charter by implication. The state legislature may grant theseprivileges if it wishes, but it must do so explicitly. Any other rule, Taney warned, would permit olderand obsolete technologies to impede material progress. Taney declared that the rights not specificallyconferred could not be inferred from the language of a documen!t. The courts position implicitly endorsed the view of the competitive, not the monopoly model ofeconomic development. This decision showed the Taney courts keen sensitivity to the impact oftechnological change in the law. With Taney s reasoning, I actually am inclined to agree with the courtsjudgment. With the reason that the Charles River Bridge Company was taking money from the Harvardcollege ferry, why are they going to resent the Warren Bridge Company for jeopardizing their funds?Another Taney court case dealing with slavery was Kentucky versus Dennison. In 1859, WillisLago, a free black from Ohio, helped a Kentucky slave named Charlotte escape to Ohio. Kentucky indictedLago for theft. Governor Berlah Magoffin of Kentucky asked Ohio Governor salmon P. Chase to extraditeLago. Chase, an anti-slavery advocate, refused to comply, arguing that Lago had not committed a crimerecognized by Ohio Law. Magoffin had waited until Chase left office in 1860 and renewed the requisitionwith the new Ohio Governor, William Dennison who also refused to comply. Magoffin when sought a writ ofmandamus to force Dennison to act. Magoffin sued in the United States Supreme Court, under the courtsoriginal jurisdiction for cases between two states. The case presented Chief Justice Roger Taney with amajor dilemma. Taney was profoundly proslavery, deeply antagonistic toward the North, and desirous ofsettling all constitutional issues surrounding slavery in favor o!f the South. But with succession already in progress, Taney was loathe to rule that the Supreme Court ofthe Federal Government might have the power to force state governors to act. After chasticizing the OhioGovernors for not cooperating with the criminal extradition clause of the constitution, Taney ruled thatthe court had no power to force a state to comply with its constitutional obligation. In dealing withslavery,, the Taney court too often claimed that they could do nothing about it. This set out a tone fortheir court that stated they didn t want to be involved with cases dealing with slaves. The abruptnessin their decisions and closed mindedness leads you to think how such a court could have played a role inour history. Another historic case in the Taney era was the Ex Parte Merryman, in 1861. With the end ofJacksons term coming and going, the newly inaugurated president of a divided nation, Abraham Lincolnanticipated working with a generally cooperative Congress. It was not to be as Chief Justice Roger B. Taney tried to lead a bloc against Union war objectives. His opinion in Ex Parte Merryman condemnedLincoln s “Arbitrary Arrests” of allegedly disloyal civilians as arrogation s of congresses soleauthority to declare and wage war. Taney denounced the presidents refusal to produce the detainee JohnMerryman as a fatal blow too constitutional government. Lincoln believed that the Merryman opinionviolated Taney s own political question doctrine counseling judicial restraint which suggested that incivil strife the elective branches bore responsibility for making the basic policy choices. Taneycontradicted his own opinion. He had once suggested that when there was trouble in the !United States whether civil or world, the judicial branch which included the president of the UnitedStates, should be able to make a decision on what should be allowed or not. President Lincoln ssuspension of the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus in April 1861 presented an issue of governmentinfringement of civil liberties that could be reasonably be brought before the judiciary.(The writ ofHabeas Corpus is a court order that a prisoner be brought before the court and that the detaining officershow cause why the prisoner should not be released; designed to prevent illegal arrests and unlawfulimprisonment s.) The executive branch and congress gave permission for authorities to arrest personswithout warrants, throw them in jail without trials and they were only able to be released when thedanger had passed without benefit of any Supreme Court opinion on the constitutionality of these actions. Before the government s policy was put into place, however, Chief justi!ce Roger Taney attempted to control the actions of the Legislative Branch by invalidating Lincoln ssuspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus Taney questioned the presidents action in Ex Prate Merryman. OnMay 25,1861, a sectionist named john Merryman was imprisoned by military order at Fort McHenry,Baltimore, for his alleged participation in the destruction of railroad bridges. Merryman petitionedChief Justice Roger Taney, presiding judge of the circuit court at Baltimore for a writ of habeas corpus. General George Cadwalader in command of Fort McHenry, refused to obey the writ, however, on the basisthat President Lincoln had suspended Habeas Corpus. Taney cited Cadwalader for contempt of court. Holding a session at the chambers as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, (rather than presiding over asession of the circuit court), Taney on the 28th of May, 1861, declared Merryman entitled to his freedomon the grounds that he was illegally detained. In an unusual move, he! filed and opinion condemning Merryman s arrest as an arbitrary and illegal denial of civil liberty. Taney stated that military detention of civilians like Merryman was unconstitutional because onlycongress had authority to suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus. Taney described the president as a mereadministrative officer charged with faithful enforcement of the laws. according to the Chief Justicethis amounted to a constitutional duty not to execute the laws “as they are expanded and adjudged by theco-ordinate branch of the government, to which that duty is assigned by the constitution.” Taney sent acopy of his opinion to Lincoln. President Lincoln justified his action in a message to Congress in July1861. He reasoned further that the framers did not intend that in an emergency no action should be takento protect the public safety by suspending Habeas Corpus until Congress should be assembled. Moreimportantly he ignored Taney s opinion. Merryman, however, was lat!er released.