By these and similar actions taney would appear to be

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By these and similar actions, Taney would appear to be sympathetic to abolitionists, however, he decided the Dred Scott case against Scott. During his entire tenure on the Court, but specifically with the Dred Scott case, the Court‘s opinions cannot be viewed as Taney‘s personal opinions. As a justice of the Supreme Court, he was constrained by the Constitution and precedent; he could not decide cases based on his own opinions, only based on how he read the Constitution. When Taney ascended to the Court in 1836, few foresaw the impact he would have. He had considerable po litical experience and a reputation as one of Maryland‘s best attorneys, but he was also very loyal to President Jackson. As all presidents do, Jackson took considerable care when choosing a replacement for the well-respected Chief Justice Marshall. Although Taney had worked under and supported President Jackson for a number of years prior to his nomination, Jackson could not have predicted the influence Taney would have on the Court, and by extension, the country itself. Every president hopes that his nominees become influential Court members, but most fulfill their seats
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9 unremarkably at least as unremarkably as a Supreme Court justice could do so. Roger Taney is a rare exception even his manner of dress disturbed some. 3 When President Jackson nominated Taney, and for several presidents thereafter, well known, political celebrities fit the bill of an ideal justice. Political experience allowed for the opportunity to foster a relationship with the President, and presidents tended to nominate only people they personally knew. Each successive president learns from the nominations of each prior president. Over time, for many reasons, presidents have abandoned the pool of well-known political celebrities and now seek out nominees from the obscure corners of the legal network (Abraham). What kind of person would make the ideal justice has been debated for as long as the Supreme Court has needed justices on its bench. Until recently, justices came from various backgrounds. Some were senators, mayors, congressmen, professors, and judges. The current Court, though, is the first to be composed solely of former appellate court judges. In a speech at the University of Arizona Law School, Chief Justice John G. Roberts commented on how this has influenced the C ourt. He said that, ―‗the method of analysis and argument shifted to more solid grounds of legal arguments,‘‖ which results in ―‗a more legal perspective and less of a policy perspective‘‖ (Liptak). While Roberts accurately notes the change in the method of constitutional analysis, he fails to evaluate the positive or negative effects of such a shift. Additionally, the recognizablitiy of justices at the time of nomination may also have an effect on their ability to be a successful justice, largely because reconizability 3 Taney was the first justice to wear trousers under his robes instead of the more traditional knee breeches (Shnayerson 105).
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10 affects their confirmation process.
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