Dred Scott v. Sandford case and our own supreme court


Village Elder
Today is the anniversary of the death of Dred Scott, the famous slave. Beacuse of what I think will be similarities between the decision of the supreme court in Kenya regarding 2017 presidential election and the US SUPREME court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857.

Dred Scott, an enslaved man of "the negro African race" who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the court denied Scott's request.
The court held that "a negro, whose ancestors were imported into [the U.S.], and sold as slaves", whether enslaved or free, could not be an American citizen and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,[ and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States.

Many contemporary lawyers, and most modern legal scholars, consider the ruling regarding slavery in the territories to be dictum, not binding precedent. The Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford is unanimously denounced by scholars.

Here I quote part of the judgement:

''It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that unfortunate race, which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted. But the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken.

They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race. It was regarded as an axiom in morals as well as in politics, which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute; and men in every grade and position in society daily and habitually acted upon it in their private pursuits, as well as in matters of public concern, without doubting for a moment the correctness of this opinion.''

Dred Scott:

Full Name: Dred Scott
Nationality: American

Profession: US Slave
Why Famous: Dred Scott was born into slavery in Virginia in the 1790s. His original owners sold him to a John Emerson doctor serving in the US army and Scott travelled about with him.

In 1836 he met and married fellow slave Harriet Robinson, her ownership transferred to Emerson so they could be together. Following Emerson's death in 1843 Scott sought to buy the freedom of himself and his family but Emerson's wife refused.

Scott filed a case in the local St Louis court, was tried in 1847 then retied in 1850 where the court ruled the Scotts should be freed due to living in states where slavery was illegal. Their owner appealed, the case going to the Supreme Court which ruling in 1857 that as of African descent they did not have the right to be citizens and so to freedom. By this stage Scott was the most famous slave in America. Scott and his family were finally freed 3 months after the court ruling. Dred died less than 2 years later.

Dred Scott's case led to the tensions of the civil war, influenced Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments.

Born: March 17, 1777
Star Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Southampton County, Virginia, USA

Died: September 17, 1858 (aged 81)
Cause of Death: Tuberculosis


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