Dred Scott and the Dangers of a Political Court


Dred Scott and the Dangers of a Political Court

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  • 製本 Paperback:紙装版/ペーパーバック版/ページ数 328 p.
  • 言語 ENG
  • 商品コード 9780739137598
  • DDC分類 320

Full Description

The Dred Scott decision of 1857 is widely (and correctly) regarded as the very worst in the long history of the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision held that no African American could ever be a U.S. citizen and declared that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional and void. The decision thus appeared to promise that slavery would be forever protected in the great American West. Prompting mass outrage, the decision was a crucial step on the road that led to the Civil War. Dred Scott and the Dangers of a Political Court traces the history of the case and tells the story of many of the key people involved, including Dred and Harriet Scott, President James Buchanan, Chief Justice Roger Taney, and Abraham Lincoln. The book also examines in some detail each of the nine separate Opinions written by the Court's Justices, connecting each with the respective Justices' past views on slavery and the law. That examination demonstrates that the majority Justices were willing to embrace virtually any flimsy legal argument they could find at hand in an effort to justify the pro-slavery result they had predetermined. Many modern commentators view the case chiefly in relation to Roe v Wade and related controversies in modern constitutional law: some conservative critics attempt to argue that Dred Scott exemplifies 'aspirationalism' or 'judicial activism' gone wrong; some liberal critics in turn try to argue that Dred Scott instead represents 'originalism' or 'strict constructionism' run amok. Here, Judge Ethan Greenberg demonstrates that none of these modern critiques has much merit. The Dred Scott case was not about constitutional methodology, but chiefly about slavery, and about how very far the Dred Scott Court was willing to go to protect the political interests of the slave-holding South. The decision was wrong because the Court subordinated law and intellectual honesty to politics. The case thus exemplifies the dangers of a political Court.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments                                    ix
Introduction 1 (10)
Part I History
1 Preface---Dred Scott in a House Divided 11 (4)
2 A Slave's Life 15 (10)
3 False Promise of Freedom---Scott's State 25 (10)
Court Trials
4 "A Dark and Fell Spirit"---The Missouri 35 (6)
Supreme Court Reverses
5 New Trial and Defeat in St. Louis Federal 41 (8)
6 At the Summit---Argument and Reargument 49 (14)
Before the U.S. Supreme Court
7 The President-Elect Secretly Intervenes 63 (20)
8 "The South is Doomed"---Chief Justice 83 (20)
Roger Taney
Part II Law
9 Teney's Opinion of the Court: An Overview 103(4)
10 Can a Black Man Be a True 107(14)
American?---Taney on Negro Citizenship
11 "Upon These Considerations"---Taney 121(24)
Strikes Down the Missouri Compromise
12 The Road Not Taken---Taney on Choice of 145(4)
Law and Res Judicata
13 The Majority Concurs (After a Fashion) 149(38)
14 Two Ringing Dissents 187(34)
15 Reaction and the Way to Civil War 221(22)
Part III Analysis
16 The Use and Misuse of History 243(8)
17 The Aspirationalist 251(24)
Critique---"Indifference to Injustice"
18 The Originalist Critique---"First 275(24)
Cousin" to Roe
19 The Traditional "Judicial Restraint" 299(10)
20 Dred Scott and the Dangers of a 309(12)
Political Court
Select Bibliography 321(4)
Index 325(4)
About the Author 329