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Supreme Court issues ruling in Dred Scott Case

Roger Brooke Taney, circa 1858, detail
All nine justices of the Supreme Court issued separate opinions in the Dred Scott Case, but a 7-2 majority joined Chief Justice Roger Taney in ruling that Dred Scott, a slave from Missouri, was not eligible for freedom despite living with his late master in a free state and a free territory. The Taney ruling stated that blacks, whether slave or free, could not be U.S. citizens; that southern states did not have to honor northern laws when addressing issues of slave residency; and finally, that the Congress could not prohibit slavery in the territories. The final aspect of the decision invoked judicial review to invalidate a federal statute (the 1820 Missouri Compromise) for the first time since the landmark 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision. (By Matthew Pinsker)
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