Article Title

The Unconstitutionality of the Missouri Compromise.

Authors

Newspaper Title

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Publication Date

3-11-1857

Publication Place

Cleveland,Ohio

Event Topic

Dred Scott

Political Party

Democratic

Region

free state

Quote

The opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case in which seven of the nine Judges concur, is unquestionably the most important one in itself, and its bearings upon the leading political question of the day that has been pronounced within the present century.

Document Type

Article (Journal or Newsletter)

Full Text Transcription

The opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case in which seven of the nine Judges concur, is unquestionably the most important one in itself, and its bearings upon the leading political question of the day that has been pronounced within the present century. The Justices who agree with Chief Justice Taney that Scott is not a citizen of the United States, that he was not manumitted by being taken by his master, when a slave, into the then Territory of Illinois, and that the Missouri Compromise was an act unconstitutionally passed by Congress, are, Justices Wayne, of Georgia, Catron, of Tennessee, Daniel, of Virginia, Grier, of Pennsylvania, Curtis, of Massachusetts, and Campbell, of Alabama. The dissenting Justices are McLean, of Ohio, and Nelson, of New York.

The United States Supreme Court is the highest Judicial authority. It is the authorized expounder of the Constitution, its decisions are the supreme law of the land, and its voice is final on all questions within its jurisdiction. We say final because there is no appellate tribunal on earth above this Court, and every man who swears to support the Constitution of the United States, must support it as it is interpreted by this body. Members of Congress must respect its decisions, and the President cannot set up his own opinion or be guided by his own discretion in opposition to its fiat. Attorney General Cushing in his farewell speech to this court said to the Justices "You are the* incarnate mind of the nation. In the complex institutions of our country, you are the pivot point upon which the rights and liberties of all, Government and people, alike, turn; or rather you are the central light of constitutional wisdom around which they perpetually revolve."

We have made this allusion to the character of the tribunal which has just decided a question that has stirred the heart and mind of the nation deeper and longer than any other, for the purpose of urging the duty of acquiescence in its verdict. Men may, conscientiously we dare say, entertain opinions in opposition to those declared by this Bench, but, so far as legislative action is concerned, every man is in honor bound to respect the supreme law of the land. No man is justifiable in advocating a "higher law" -- it is treason against the cornerstone of republican institutions. There are those who will assert that this decision is contrary to "the law of God written on the heart of man" and endeavor to create a prejudice against the authority of the Court; but all such men are enemies of the public good and demoralizers. The moment we cut loose from an implicit obedience to law, we are thrown upon a treacherous sea, without helm, compass, chart or port of refuge.

As the detail of the opinion pronounced by Chief Justice Taney has not been received we cannot comment at length upon it. But its leading features, command our full endorsement, especially with regard to the unconstitutionality of the Missouri Compromise. And we cannot but express the confidence that it, in connection with principles so clearly defined in the Inaugural of Mr. Buchanan, will give the country rest on this vexed and unprofitable question of slavery extension. The position taken by the Democratic party in the late Presidential campaign has been endorsed by the Court of last resort as well as by the people.-- May we not hope that slavery agitation will now have rest and people repose.

Buffalo Courier

Edited/Proofed by

Entered by Lloyd Benson. Proofed by Katie DeLong

Identifier

ohpdds570311a

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The Unconstitutionality of the Missouri Compromise.

The opinion of the United States Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case in which seven of the nine Judges concur, is unquestionably the most important one in itself, and its bearings upon the leading political question of the day that has been pronounced within the present century.