Supreme Court Conflicts

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Many cases are referred to the Supreme Court because of dissatisfaction on the part of the plaintiff (U.S Constitution, art. III, sect. 1). This was analogous to the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford. Dred Scott was dissatisfied with the decision reached in his case to get citizenship in the United States as a result of Missouri's slavery laws. Scott had been Dr. Emerson's slave while he was serving in the Army as a surgeon in Missouri. They began in Illinois before going to Missouri, where slavery was forbidden (Dred Scot VS Sandford , 1). Therefore, Scot filed a suit in the federal circuit court seeking to obtain citizenship in the country because of his stay in a state that was against the practice of slavery. The conflict arose when the federal court upheld the case against him hence prompting Scot to appeal in the Supreme Court.

The main conflict of the case was whether Dred Scott should be allowed to obtain citizenship of the United States as a virtue of residing in the state of Missouri that was against the practice of slavery. Thus, the Supreme Court was to decide whether Dred Scott qualified to be part of the political community of the nation and hence enjoy the privileges and rights of the American people as stipulated in the Constitution of the country. On one hand, Scot argued that he was an ancestor of the family sold to slavery from Africa to America. He moved to Missouri with his boss in the year 1836 before going back to their original city of Illinois. His basis for the lawsuit in the federal court was based on the provision of the compromise law of 1820 in Missouri (Dred Scot VS Sandford, 12). He believed that residing in a city that prohibited against slavery freed him as a slave from Dr. Emerson and hence he was entitled to the rights and privileges similar to those of the American citizens.

On the contrary, the court dismissed this plea as being unconstitutional and hence does not form the basis of an individual getting rights in the same way as the Americans. According to the Supreme Court, slaves were an inferior group of individuals that lived under the authority of a powerful race. Since they do not merit to be referred to as citizens or sovereign people of the country, the constitution does not cater for their needs (Dred Scot VS Sandford, 2). Scott cannot claim to be an American citizen because the law does not stipulate the inclusion none members in their constitution so as to share the privileges and provisions of the American Bill of Rights. Therefore, the court upheld the ruling stating that the law only applies to the current state of residence of an individual. In this case, Scott would have filed the suit while in Missouri because it was the state that provided for this exception in the prohibition of slavery in the state.

I do not think the court balanced its judgment depending on the conflict on each side. The Constitution of the United States of America advocates for equal rights for all the people. In this case, Dred Scott and other slaves that may have been sold to work on the farms were considered as people and not any other way in the Constitution. Besides, states such as Florida and Louisiana have conferred slaves as citizens of the country regardless of their color, age and grade. The courts in these states did not hold the cases against the people because they were slaves and hence not equal to the American people. They were made citizens of the country by following the Constitution of the United States as well as the Bill of Rights of the people (U.S Constitution art. IV Sect. 2). Slaves are people similar to the whites enjoying the privileges of the nation. Thus, the decision to uphold the decision of the federal court shows lack of critical analysis of the facts of the case.

Both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights came as a result of the endless struggle by the collaboration of people with color as well as the whites. In the same way, the Constitution should cater for all their needs. The court decided that it had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal since the decision made in the state court had a strong basis and provision of its laws. It was only the state of Missouri that had laws prohibiting slavery as the law did not apply to Illinois. Thus, Scott was taken to Missouri from Illinois by his owner Dr. Emerson as a slave and lived in the same manner as a slave in the state and after going back to Illinois. Therefore, if Scott had wished to change his status to acquire citizenship, then he would have to do so in the state of Missouri as it had regulations prohibiting slavery in the state (Dred Scot VS Sandford, 11). It provided for equal rights and privileges of all the people as opposed to the state of Illinois. This judgment is not balanced and hence every side of the question required more attention in order to give a ruling that was acceptable by law.

Works Cited

Dred Scott v. Sandford case (1857)

The United States Bill of Rights. Ratified December 15, 1789.

The United States Constitution. The U.S. National Archives & Records Administration.

May 02, 2023

Law Sociology

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