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Dred Scott vs John F. Stanford

Dred Scott vs John F. Stanford

Interpretation of the Constitution that Founded Chief Justice Taney’s Opinion

According to Urofsky (2023), the decision in the Dred Scott v. John F. Stanford case is considered the worst decision the Supreme Court has ever made because it wrongly imposed a judicial solution on a political issue. Chief Justice Taney’s opinion in the case was based on the interpretation that the laws in the Constitution that restricted slavery and focused on keeping a balance between enslaved persons and Free states were unconstitutional. This interpretation was based on the assumption that black people or African Americans could not be considered citizens of the United States.

Justification for Denying Citizenship Rights to Dred Scott and other African Americans

The court’s justification for denying citizenship rights to Dred Scott and other African Americans was that the phrase “all men were created equal” in the Declaration of Independence indicated that enslaved African Americans were not intended to be included as United States citizens and did not form any part of the people who developed and adopted the declaration. Another justification was that an African American whose ancestors were transported from African countries to the United States could not be an American citizen and thus lacked the standing to sue the federal court.

“We, the People of the United States”

The constitutional phrase: “We the people of the United States” is followed by a declaration that United States citizens should promote the overall welfare of the citizens and secure the country’s liberty and prosperity by establishing insecure domestic tranquillity and justice and promoting the welfare and providing for the common defence (United States Courts, 2023). American citizens are granted various immunities and privileges to fulfil this goal, including the right to sue a person in a federal court. Therefore, the aspect of the decision that revolved around the phrase “We the people of the United States” was the decision that African Americans could not be United States citizens because they did not have all the immunities and privileges granted to the United States citizens by the Constitution.

Issues of Citizenship and Property Rights in the Case

The main issue of citizenship in the case was whether African Americans could be considered American citizens because some African Americans were allowed to vote in some states and were considered citizens of that state. It was concluded that national citizenship was not the same as state citizenship, which is why African Americans could not be viewed as United States citizens. Property rights issues emerged from the argument that any law excluding enslaved people from the territories violated the Fifth Amendment against seizing property without following the legal process.


United States Courts. (2023). The U.S. Constitution: Preamble.,for%20the%20United%20States%20of

Urofsky, M. (2023, August 23). Dred Scott’s decision. Encyclopedia Britannica.


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Dred Scott vs John F. Stanford

Dred Scott vs John F. Stanford

Arguably, the worst decision in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court was the Scott v. Sandford case, decided in 1856. For this discussion forum, consider the following questions/points as you summarize the legal reasoning behind Justice Taney’s opinion.
What interpretation of the constitution was Chief Justice Taney’s opinion based on?
What justification did the court give for denying citizenship rights to Dred Scott and other African Americans?
One aspect of Scott’s decision revolved around interpreting this constitutional phrase: “We, the people of the United States.”
The case included issues of citizenship and property rights.
For your initial post, please articulate Taney’s legal reason for deciding against Mr. Scott. Later, when we do reply, we’ll consider the moral, economic, and social implications of the decision.

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