Reconsideration of Dred Scott v. Sandford

This is a really good discussion of the Dred Scott case. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer presides along with nine appeals court judges to hear testimony on the Dred Scott case and to cross examine the witnesses. Professors Paul Finkelman and Akhil Reed Amar are among the witnesses who testify. I thought John Stauffer was out of his element. His presentation, in my view, was the weakest.

The video’s description reads, “Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and nine U.S. appeals court judges presided over a moot court reconsideration of Dred Scott v. Sandford. After hearing from lawyers and academics from across the country representing both Scott and his owner, the judges concluded that Scott would likely have had to remain a slave under 1850s law, but that the most significant parts of the Court’s opinion were completely erroneous. The 1857 case considered a claim by Scott, a Missouri slave who lived in the free state of Illinois with his owner, that he should be free because of the time they had spent in Illinois. The case is most remembered for the vitriolic opinion issued by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney asserting that blacks were “unfit to associate with the white race” and “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The decision is often blamed for inflaming the political divide over slavery and contributing to the start of the Civil War. The moot court hearing, held in Ames Courtroom on the 150th anniversary of the Court’s opinion, was organized by Climenko Professor of Law Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., and his Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.



One comment

  1. […] Reconsideration of Dred Scott v. Sandford Reconsideration of Dred Scott v. Sandford Student of the American Civil War {$excerpt:n} […]

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