[From "Southern History Series: The Dred Scott Decision"]
Have you ever read the Dred Scott decision of 1857?
If you haven’t done so, I would highly recommend it. The Dred Scott decision was written by Chief Justice Roger Taney who was a native of Maryland. It struck down the Missouri Compromise which opened all the Western territories to slavery. Taney used history and law to explain why blacks were not American citizens and had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” He also said the Constitution was formed by the Founders “for them and their posterity, but for no one else.”
Aside from his ruling in the Dred Scott decision, Taney is known for the [I]Ex parte Merryman[/I] decision in which he denied that Lincoln had the right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and arrest John Merryman who was being held as a political prisoner in Fort McHenry following the Baltimore Riot of 1861. Lincoln ignored and defied the order of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
After the War Between the States, the Reconstruction Amendments had to be passed at gunpoint by the Republican Party to establish black citizenship and voting rights. This was because of Taney’s ruling in the Dred Scott decision and the fear the Civil Rights Act of 1866 would be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The Founders had created a White Republic and a voluntary Union of sovereign states for their posterity which Lincoln and his Radical Republican allies in Congress overturned to create the centralized and consolidated empire that we live under today.