Essay about Chief Justice Taney and Slavery

1745 Words7 Pages
The Art of Avoidance; Chief Justice Taney and the Question of Slavery

“Their present decision is equivalent to a repeal of law and the making of law. This is not adjudication, it is mere usurpation. It is the substitution of mere arbitrary will in the place of the solemn and responsible functions of an impartial judicature.”[1]

The 1857 Dred Scott decision proved that Chief Justice Roger Taney’s sadistic racism could be eclipsed only by his unbounded arrogance. Using outright lies regarding the intentions of the Framers, he temporarily sacrificed the entire African race, and directed the Supreme Court to move in and illegitimate and supercede the powers vested to Congress by the Constitution. Dred
…show more content…
Scott’s assertion was that he had become a free black as a result of his residency in Illinois, and as such he could legally sue for his freedom in the state of Missouri after his owner, John Sandford, “laid his hands upon said plaintiff, Harriet, Eliza and Lizzie, and imprisoned them, doing in this respect, however, no more than what he might lawfully do if they were of right his slaves at such times”.[3] Scott sought redress in the federal courts as a citizen of the United States, not as an abused slave, an important distinction.

According to the Constitution, only a citizen, as defined by the aforementioned document, could seek an audience with the federal court, but a slave was not considered a citizen, but property. Yet in an almost complete contradiction to himself on over question of the term citizen, Taney stated, “Undoubtedly, a person may be a citizen, that is, a member of the community who form the sovereignty, although he exercises no share of the political power, and is incapacitated from holding particular office.”,[4] citing the limited status of minors and women. If having no political voice, no ability to hold power, or property, and living a marginalized existence were consistent with the definition of citizen, as was held and put forth by the framers of the

More about Essay about Chief Justice Taney and Slavery

Get Access