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William Pitt Fessenden

Dred Scott: Startling Wisdom from History Speaks to Today

Faith and Freedom with Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and BarbWire’s Matt Barber… An 11-minute weekday radio program discussing hot topics in the area of religious liberty, the sanctity of human life and the family.

We often talk about the infamous Dred Scott Decision, the one that said that blacks were not entitled to full citizenship. And we often think that everyone just fell in line with that particular opinion. But we’re going to read from some quotes that will startle you, maybe surprise you [to learn] of resistance to that particular decision.

shutterstock_244394581Mat Staver: Matt, the Dred Scott decision came down in the 1800’s. It was written by [Chief] Justice Roger [B.] Taney, he was a racist judge. He collided with Abraham Lincoln over the issue of slavery. Lincoln was on one side, Taney on the other side.

Dred Scott went to the Supreme Court of the United States seeking his rights as a citizen under the Constitution, but was denied those rights. And in the opinion it said that some people think that blacks are “inferior human beings” and therefore he was not entitled to full citizenship rights and they ruled against him.

Well, we fought a civil war that overturned that nonsense. But, I think it will be surprising, Matt, to many people about the open resistance, the clarity with which people, including Lincoln, resisted that opinion.

Matt Barber: Yea…people need to understand that it is not without precedence for the United States Supreme Court to make illegitimate decisions and issue illegitimate opinions.

And we talk about this in the context of a couple modern illegitimate opinions. Certainly the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision that came out, that just overturned millennia of natural law and presumes to foist gay marriage as a constitutional right as Roe v. Wade and others.

But, Mat, there are so many good quotes!

Senator William Pitt Fessenden, for instance, who was a Republican in Maine said relative to Dred Scott, “It is charged that I am undermining the institutions of the country by attacking the Supreme Court of the United States. I attack not their decision, for they have made none. It is their opinion.” 

And we often refer to…this is just an opinion by five lawyers on a court. They are not, we do not live under a judiciocracy, and they are not dictators.


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