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When the Supreme Court denied citizenship and freedom to Dred Scott, had this violated Scott’s right to equal citizenship rights and protection that was guaranteed, after a few years, under the 14th amendment? It’s quite a difficult decision to comprehend, considering that the 14th amendment had been passed fourteen years after Scott’s 1854 court case, and could be said that such an amendment should not be associated with a case that had already been “ended.” Perhaps this violation, or no violation talk with the 14th amendment is not the law that could have caused the most controversy during this tough time. For there had of course been states involved that had previously passed laws about prohibiting slavery, and were directly responsible for many who questioned further into this court case. These free states had been concerned with at all, for Dred Scott had moved to a free state for quite some time before moving back to his original home, which would not be a free state! (Which was what caused such confusion in this time.) So, we have to question if the 14th amendment is what causes the highest concern, or if the statement that had been active at the time, “Once free, always free,” is what should truly cause our minds to be puzzled about this court case.
A slave named Dred Scott would be the prime cause of the start of a long, stressful journey that would have taken years to obtain. This “journey” having gained the awareness of the public throughout the long years, and had been declared to be known as the Dred Scott V Sandford court case. Scott had originally been owned by the Emerson family, or more specifically, he’d belonged to the man of the house, Mr. Emerson. This man had bought Scott in 1834, before dying in 1843. With his death, he’d passed down his slave to his wife, Irene. Unfortunately, the widow had been quickly sued by Scott for illegal slavery after having rejected his request to work for money, so that he may have the opportunity to save and buy his freedom.
After 11 years of attempting to get to the Supreme Court, his case had been accepted in Missouri, a state that the widow and slaves had moved back to after being in the slave prohibited, free state of Minnesota. The result of that court case in 1847, in the Missouri Circuit court, would have Scott’s owner, Mrs. Emerson, having won on a technicality. Such a technicality having been for the fact that they did not have the proof, or evidence, that Irene had kept him as a slave and moved against his will from Minnesota. This technicality would not be enough to guarantee her win however, for a retrial was requested and accepted to take place in 1850, so that they may gain more evidence.
By that time, Irene would have put her brother, Sandford, in charge to take over for the case. This would even entitle him to be responsible for her slave, Dred Scott. In 1850, Scott had almost seemed to win by the line “Once free, always free.” That had come from the Missouri Compromise in 1820. However, the case had yet again took a turn in 1852, Sandford having appealed to the court, this having caused him to be in favor of the judges instead of Scott. Scott had been in the losing side after the times worsened for African Americans, and had grown even discriminated against by the judges. Such citizens having had personal views that got in the way when deciding, these men had even dared to declare that no African American could be a U.S. citizen.
Now, was this a just case that could be considered constitutional, even if it was before the passing of the 14th amendment? If the 14th amendment had been active during the Dred Scott v Sandford court case, the answer would have been obvious. No, it would have not been considered constitutional. Unfortunately, it cannot be cut clean so easily, the lines have become skewed, opinionated and confusing. On one side of the argument, they could declare that cases such as this, are unable to be decided as unconstitutional if the case has already been decided on. Another declares that the age of the case does not matter, unconstitutional events will be set in stone as just that, unconstitutional. The reasons for both of these opinions come from both speculation and favoritism on either subject.
The side declaring that the case is unconstitutional, bases their belief on the fact that the amendment was made, years later or not, and put into the constitution. This is a strict way of thinking and demands that even an amendment that had not be introduced during that time, must still be regulated and enforced.
The opposing side, the ones that declares it constitutional, could base their opinion on the fact that the amendment hadn’t been enforced during that time, and would be free to keep it’s current decision. They could also stretch to make comparisons to the law, Ex post facto. Such a term meaning that one cannot be accused of having done a crime if the act had been legal when the act occurred. (Past legal acts shall not be accused of being illegal because of the law that had passed in the current day.)
Both sides have their points, both are said to be simple, cut and clean because of this. Yet both could be correct, but one has to be chosen. The exception, or the guilty sentencing both have fact and opinion, but it’s all based on possibilities. As well if it’s considered to be worth bringing the case back up after all these years so they would be able to make an entirely horrific situation that would be beyond difficult.
The court had decided that Dred Scott would still be considered a slave, and the reason behind such a choice, would be because of their own personal views, along with the fact that they were currently not in a slavery prohibited state. Their views were harsh because of the situations that had occurred during that time period, with all the freedom declarations making the judges angered. This soon caused the judge’s minds be clouded by their dispute and discrimination against African Americans. They believed that African American slaves could never be considered citizens, and that this case had been quite “simple” in the fact that Scott hadn’t “deserved” his freedom.
The consequence for such a response, would be that many were angered by the discriminating thoughts. Such actions by the judges having caused a “disease” spread through thoughts, these thoughts having included the subject of how the judges were unjust, or perhaps even unfit to be associated with the Supreme Court. With all the conflict appearing throughout the case, this just caused more questions and confusions to appear because of such a decision made in this popular court case. Discrimination mixed with reasoning would not go well in any case, and will have many overlook the rational reason given so they may focus entirely on the opinionated parts.
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