Mar 17, 2010

Roger B. Taney

(Wikipedia) Roger Brooke Taney (pronounced "tawny"; March 17, 1777 – October 12, 1864) was the fifth Chief Justice of the United States, holding that office from 1836 until his death in 1864, and was the first Roman Catholic to hold that office. He was also the eleventh United States Attorney General. He is most remembered for delivering the majority opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), that ruled, among other things, that African Americans, being considered "of an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race" at the time the Constitution was drafted, could not be considered citizens of the United States.
Described by his and President Andrew Jackson's critics as ". . . stooped, sallow, ugly . . . [a] supple, cringing tool of Jacksonian power," as the new Chief Justice, Taney was as ideally suited for the complex and contradictory period of American history as any man could be: he was a Southerner who loved his country over his state; a believer in states' rights yet a firm believer in the Union; a slaveholder who regretted the institution and manumitted his slaves. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress