“Michael, the Dred Scott decision of 1857 still remains to this day the law of the land, which says that black people aren’t fully human,” [Presidential Candidate and Former Arkansas Governor Mike] Huckabee told radio show host Michael Medved.
NO, it’s NOT the “law of the land.”
That 1857 ruling was nullified about 150 years ago.
That Supreme Court ruled
(1) that Negros had no right to sue in federal court because they were not and could not be citizens, and
(2) that Congress could not prohibit slavery (ending the Missouri Compromise).
[Chief] Justice Taney’s first finding in Dred Scott was that Scott had no right to sue in federal court because, although he was born in the United States, he was not a citizen. This was not because he was a slave—Scott said that he wasn’t one, after all—but because he was a black man in America, whose ancestors were “of pure African blood” and had arrived in America as slaves. This is part of what makes the Dred Scott case so shocking: it is about race as much as it is about the legal institution of slavery. According to Taney’s ruling, a black man born free in Brooklyn was not a United States citizen, even if New York said that he was a citizen of that state. (emphasis added)
That (horrible) decision was nullified by the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) AND the Civil War (1861-1865) AND the 13th Amendment to the Constitution (1865), which outlawed slavery, AND the 14th Amendment to the Constitution (1868), which granted citizenship to anyone born in the United States regardless of skin tone and established the “due process” clause as well as the “equal protection” clause.
My goodness, our 21st century Republicans seem to have 19th century “Democratic Party” mindsets, don’t they?
Chief Justice Taney was a southerner, as were four other members of the 9-member Court. “Seven had been appointed by pro-slavery presidents from the South, and of these, five were from slave-holding families,” according to PBS. And Robert Grier, Pennsylvania, was staunchly pro-slavery.
- John McLean, OH, 1830–1861 (Jackson) // dissent
- James Moore Wayne, GA, 1835–1867 (Jackson)
- Roger B. Taney, MD, 1836–1864 (Jackson)
- John Catron, TN, 1837–1865 (Jackson)
- Peter Vivian Daniel, VA, 1841–1860 (Van Buren)
- Samuel Nelson, N.Y., 1845–1872 (Tyler)
- Robert Cooper Grier, PA, 1846–1870 (Polk)
- Benjamin Robbins Curtis, MA, 1851–1857 (Fillmore) // dissent, resigned
- John Archibald Campbell, AL, 1853–1861 (Pierce)
Chief Justice Roberts led the comparative rhetoric earlier this year in his dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality the law of the land rather than the piecemeal law of various states.
Never mind that one decision was restricting rights while the other was expanding rights.
- Antonin Scalia, VA, 1986 (Reagan) // dissent
- Anthony Kennedy, CA, 1988 (Reagan)
- Clarence Thomas, GA, 1991 (Bush) // dissent
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, NY, 1993 (Clinton)
- Stephen Breyer, MA, 1994 (Clinton)
- John G. Roberts, MD, 2005 (Bush) // dissent
- Samuel Alito, NJ, 2006 (Bush) // dissent
- Sonia Sotomayor, NY, 2009 (Obama)
- Elena Kagan, MA, 2010 (Obama)
No, Mr. Huckabee, Dred Scott is not the law of the land.
And Kim Davis has no right to pick and chose the laws she wants to enforce as a civil servant. Nor is her doing her job in a non-discriminatory manner in any way a form of religious persecution.
To say so is pandering to (and fomenting) both ignorance and fear.
CLIFF NOTES VERSION OF DRED SCOTT: