Argument for the case in february of 1856 but failed

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argument for the case in February of 1856 but failed to issue an opinion and reheard argument in December (Supreme Court Hist. Soc.). Although rare in Supreme Court history, this was not the only time the Court heard arguments twice for the same case. Just about one hundred years later, the Court would hear argument twice for Brown v. Board of Education involving segregation in public schools.
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7 were on the justices, but on no one more so than Chief Justice Taney. The outcome of the case would have far-reaching implications. Based on Taney‘s history and personal idea ls, the public anticipated a decision favoring Scott; however, the actual decision was far from what was anticipated. The justices issued eight different opinions, two of which strongly dissented against the majority opinion written by Chief Justice Taney. Holding for the Court, Taney‘s opinion ruled against Scott, stating that Scott was not a citizen of the United States and, therefore, had no standing to sue. Additionally, Taney‘s argument in his majority opinion dealt largely with jurisdiction and did not focus on slavery as an institution. Public reaction mirrored the fractured votes on the Court. Not long after releasing the opinion, a Massachusetts newspaper reflected on Taney‘s apparent about -face. The paper recalled an incident years before. A lawyer at the time, Taney defended a ―little negro girl‖ who ―had most likely committed the crime‖ she was charged with, however, Taney delivered ―the most eloquent speech he ever made […] at the Frederick county bar, in defense of a little negro girl‖ (―[Black Republican]‖). Chief Justice Roger Taney lived until 1864 (―Roger‖). Public support of the Court would never reach pre- Dred Scott levels during Taney‘s life . Instead, Taney spent his remaining years in declining health, fighting very public battles against President Lincoln who, while remembered very favorably in history books, often walked a fine line of constitutionality. It is unfortunate that one opinion so negatively colored Taney‘s legacy. Judges, by the nature of their job, cannot and should not infuse their personal feelings into opinions. Judges merely interpret the law in question before them. The common law system that the United States operates under mandates that judges apply,
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8 first, the rules proscribed in the Constitution and, second, applicable, standing precedents (Murphy et. al.439-40). Taney must have believed that that was what he was doing when he wrote the opinion. Generally, it is difficult to see the person behind the judge. Once Taney became a justice, who he was as an individual no longer mattered. He has been condemned for writing Dred Scott without any recognition of the person he was without the robes of a justice. Coming from a family of indentured servants, defending a young slave, and later voting to free Africans being held on the ship Amistad despite them being charged with murder (Abraham 82), Taney was clearly far more complicated and conflicted than history remembers him being.
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