?Landmark Case Evaluation

April 30, 2018 June 5th, 2018 Law

Fill in the notes for the landmark case you selected to connect with your topic in the previous lessons. You may use the official court documents for the case and articles written about the case to fill in the required information below. Basic Information

Title of landmark case(including case number):Dred Scott v. Sanford Plaintiff: Dred Scott
Defendant: Sanford
Date case argued and decided:1865
Judgment Affirmed or Reversed:1867
Case Evaluation
Write three to five complete sentences to respond to each of the following items.
Issue/charges being discussed:
When a person enters a free State or territory, the free status overrides the previous condition of servitude. Since slavery was forbidden in the free States and territories by federal and State laws, Dred Scott became free when he entered Illinois and Wisconsin.

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Evidence presented during the arguments:
Dred Scott was a Missouri slave. Sold to Army surgeon John Emerson in Saint Louis around 1833, Scott was taken to Illinois, a free State, and on to the free Wisconsin Territory before returning to Missouri. When Emerson died in 1843, Scott sued Emerson’s widow for his freedom in the Missouri supreme court, claiming that his residence in the “free soil” of Illinois made him a free man. After defeat in State courts, Scott brought suit in a local federal court. Eleven years after Scott’s initial suit, the case came before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Conclusions of the judge/judges:
The Court decided 7-2 in favor of the slave owner. Every justice submitted an individual opinion justifying his position, with Chief Justice Taney’s being the most influential. According to Taney, African Americans, be they slave or free, were not citizens. As a slave, moreover, Scott was property and had no right to bring suit in federal courts. “In regard to the issue of Scott’s becoming free when he moved to the free State of Illinois,” Taney wrote, “the laws of the State in which the petitioner was currently resident, namely the slave State of Missouri, should apply.”

Connection with amendment/personal freedom topic for your informative/explanatory article: To deprive a person of property (in this case, Dred Scott) without due process or just compensation violated the 5th Amendment, which states that “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Dred Scott was still a slave and no master’s property rights could be limited or taken away by a State or federal law.


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