My Dred Scott article is online
Right here. I found that the case was "cooked up." Scott's attorneys sued John Sanford (and spelled his name as "Sandford"), a New York businessman who had no claim at all to being Scott's slaveholder, but stipulated that he did. So why name him? The purpose was to keep the name of the woman who did have a claim out of the case an out of the papers, because she had married a prominent anti-slavery Congressman. The pro-slavery press knew, and kept quiet until the Supreme Court ruled, then began attacking him as a hypocrite.
It was the Court's first interpretation of the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and of Fifth Amendment due process. It was also a prime example of the law of unintended consequences. Chief Justice Taney stretched far in order to protect slavery in every possible way (he could simply have ruled that Scott was not a citizen and could not sue, and ended it there).... but his ruling helped in the rise of Lincoln, completely destroyed Stephen Douglas, and resulted in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
Chief Justice Taney stretched..."
In my estimation, EVERY judge has "stretched" the law for his or her own purposes. It is quite difficult to find a decision that mirrors the language of the Constitution succinctly.
While difficult, it is possible to find individuals who are able to put aside their own predilections. Honor above all else. Remember when one leaves this one the only thing one takes with oneself is one's integrity.
Posted by: fwb at December 5, 2012 10:09 AM