Sherman M. Booth, a Wisconsin abolitionist, had helped a runaway slave and was imprisoned under federal law. He had appealed to the Wisconsin supreme court for a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds that the Fugitive Slave Law was unconstitutional. The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed and nullified the Fugitive Slave Law. Chief Justice Taney, however, ruled that the Wisconsin court had no right to nullify federal laws nor to release a federal prisoner. (By Joanne Williams)
Carol Swisher, Roger B. Taney (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1935), 524-529.