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Roger Brooke Taney
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U.S. Chief Justice
    (March 17, 1777-October 12, 1864)
    Attorney General under Andrew Jackson (1831-1833)
    Secretary of the Treasury under Andrew Jackson (1833-1834)
    5th Chief Justice of the United States (March 28, 1836-October 12, 1864)
    Landmark cases include 'Prigg v. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1942),' 'Moore v. Illinois (1852)' and 'Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
    He grew up on a slave-owning family tobacco plantation.
    He was a suck-up to the dean of his college.
    His support of the War of 1812 was so great that he almost left the Federalist Party because they opposed it.
    He flipped to the Democratic Party to support Andrew Jackson (1824).
    He drafted Jackson's veto message after the Congress renewed the Second Bank of the United States' charter.
    He replaced Secretary of the Treasury William Duane, who was fired for refusing an order to take out federal deposits from the Second Bank. Taney faithfully did what Jackson ordered.
    This ignited the Panic of 1837, one of the greatest financial downturns in U.S. history. It was followed by a six-year economic depression with record unemployment.
    He was the first cabinet officer who was refused confirmation by the Senate (1834).
    The bank affair left such a bitter feeling in the Senate that he was refused confirmation as an Associate Justice the following year (1835).
    He joined the bench with a slew of southerners who supported slavery.
    He handed down several decisions supporting slavery.
    He overturned some of John Marshall's decisions in favor of state rights.
    'Dred Scott v. Sandford' was a terrible decision that lead to the Civil War.
    In his decision, he said negroes, not even free negroes, could ever become citizens of the United States.
    Going further, his majority stated they were 'beings of an inferior order' and excluded from the phrase 'all men' in the Declaration of Independence.
    He therefore reasoned that the Missouri Compromise was an unconstitutional deprivation of property.
    This decision inflamed tensions between northern abolitionists and southern slave owners.
    His written opinions contained a great deal of venom and hate, often referring to opposition of slavery as 'northern aggression.'
    Congress refused to commission his bust to be displayed with the four other Chief Justices.
    After he died, Senator Charles Sumner wrote to Lincoln, 'Providence has given us a victory!'
    He tried (unsuccessfully) to maintain individual liberties from being violated by military officials during the Civil War.
    He attempted to prohibit Abraham Lincoln from suspending habeas corpus and some believe Lincoln attempted to issue a warrant for his arrest.
    His decision in the 'Dred Scott' case, though it supported slavery, indirectly lead to the abolition of slavery.
    He was the first Roman Catholic to become Chief Justice.
    He freed all of his slaves while he was still alive.
    Despite the Dred Scott decision, he is considered a skilled jurist by scholars.
    Taney County, Missouri and the US Coast Guard Cutter Taney are named in his honor.
    He died the day his home state of Maryland abolished slavery.

Credit: Captain Howdy


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