Dred Scott and the Dangers of a Political Court

Dred Scott and the Dangers of a Political Court

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Dred Scott exemplies neither originalism nor aspirationalism gone wrong, as many modern critics now argue. Rather, the Dred Scott Court erred chiefly because the majority gave in to the still-relevant temptation to subordinate honest legal reasoning to the pursuit of what the majority regarded as a noble and crucial political agenda-in this case, to protect slavery and the political power of the slave-holding South, and thereby preserve the Union.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 340 pages
  • 160.02 x 228.6 x 30.48mm | 612.35g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739137581
  • 9780739137581

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 Part I. History Chapter 3 Chapter 1. Preface-Dred Scott in a House Divided Chapter 4 Chapter 2. A Slave's Life Chapter 5 Chapter 3. False Promise of Freedom-Scott's State Court Trials Chapter 6 Chapter 4. "A Dark and Fell Spirit"-Missouri's Supreme Court Reverses Chapter 7 Chapter 5. New Trial and Defeat in St. Louis Federal Court Chapter 8 Chapter 6. At the Summit-Argument and Reargument Chapter 9 Chapter 7. The President-Elect Secretly Intervenes Chapter 10 Chapter 8. "The South is Doomed"-Chief Justice Roger Taney Part 11 Part II. Law Chapter 12 Chapter 9. Taney's Opinion of the Court: An Overview Chapter 13 Chapter 10. Can a Black Man Be a True American?-Taney on Negro Citizenship Chapter 14 Chapter 11. "Upon These Considerations"-Taney Strikes Down the Missouri Compromise Chapter 15 Chapter 12. The Road Not Taken-Taney on Choice of Law and Res Judicata Chapter 16 Chapter 13. The Majority Concurs (After a Fashion) Chapter 17 Chapter 14. Two Ringing Dissents Chapter 18 Chapter 15. Reaction and the Way to Civil War Part 19 Part III. Analysis Chapter 20 Chapter 16. The Use and Misuse of History Chapter 21 Chapter 17. The Aspirationalist Critique-"Indifference to Injustice" Chapter 22 Chapter 18. The Originalist Critique-"First Cousin to Roe" Chapter 23 Chapter 19. The Traditional "Judicial Restraint" Critique Chapter 24 Chapter 20. Dred Scott and the Dangers of a Political Court
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Review quote

The volume synthesizes much of the historical scholarship on Dred Scott and imbibes deeply in the literature on the era, presenting this material in a clear and organized fashion...The book's subdivisions into clearly labeled parts, chapters, and subsections makes it useful too for teachers of U.S. survey classes...Clearly written and argued, and thoroughly accessible to the reader with less background in legal theory and history, Greenberg's Dred Scott and the Dangers of a Political Court makes an interesting and comprehensive introduction to the Dred Scott case...Greenberg's argument is convincing and significant for the current day--particularly in light of what he points out as the almost flippant way the Dred Scott case gets used in politics and journalism. Louisiana History Ethan Greenberg has written what will probably prove to be the definitive account and analysis of the Dred Scott decision-one of the most consequential, and reviled, decisions in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a beautifully written book, providing both a gripping narrative of the Dred Scott litigation and a penetrating analysis of the opinions of the Justices, and of the use made of the decision by modern scholars in debates over Roe v. Wade. -- Richard A. Posner, U.S. Circuit Judge Judge Greenberg has written a superb analysis of the infamous Dred Scott decision, vividly depicting the historical background, the human story of the litigants, and most perceptively, how the decision relates to the judicial philosophies of the justices on today's Supreme Court. -- Philip Weinberg, editor in chief of The Supreme Court An original and insightful study, which shows the significant connection between the Supreme Court's 'worst decision' and the legal theories behind modern Court decisions. -- Richard Slotkin, Wesleyan University
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About Ethan Greenberg

Ethan Greenberg is an Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School.
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