Dred Scott exemplies neither originalism nor aspirationalism gone wrong, as many modern critics now argue. Rather, the Dred Scott Court erred chiefly because the majority gave in to the still-relevant temptation to subordinate honest legal reasoning to the pursuit of what the majority regarded as a noble and crucial political agenda_in this case, to protect slavery and the political power of the slave-holding South, and thereby preserve the Union.
Ethan Greenberg is an Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School.
Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 Part I. History Chapter 3 Chapter 1. Preface-Dred Scott in a House Divided Chapter 4 Chapter 2. A Slave's Life Chapter 5 Chapter 3. False Promise of Freedom-Scott's State Court Trials Chapter 6 Chapter 4. "A Dark and Fell Spirit"-Missouri's Supreme Court Reverses Chapter 7 Chapter 5. New Trial and Defeat in St. Louis Federal Court Chapter 8 Chapter 6. At the Summit-Argument and Reargument Chapter 9 Chapter 7. The President-Elect Secretly Intervenes Chapter 10 Chapter 8. "The South is Doomed"-Chief Justice Roger Taney Part 11 Part II. Law Chapter 12 Chapter 9. Taney's Opinion of the Court: An Overview Chapter 13 Chapter 10. Can a Black Man Be a True American?-Taney on Negro Citizenship Chapter 14 Chapter 11. "Upon These Considerations"-Taney Strikes Down the Missouri Compromise Chapter 15 Chapter 12. The Road Not Taken-Taney on Choice of Law and Res Judicata Chapter 16 Chapter 13. The Majority Concurs (After a Fashion) Chapter 17 Chapter 14. Two Ringing Dissents Chapter 18 Chapter 15. Reaction and the Way to Civil War Part 19 Part III. Analysis Chapter 20 Chapter 16. The Use and Misuse of History Chapter 21 Chapter 17. The Aspirationalist Critique-"Indifference to Injustice" Chapter 22 Chapter 18. The Originalist Critique-"First Cousin to Roe" Chapter 23 Chapter 19. The Traditional "Judicial Restraint" Critique Chapter 24 Chapter 20. Dred Scott and the Dangers of a Political Court