Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: May 25, 1861

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

5/25/1861: John Merryman arrested. Chief Justice Taney ruled that his detention was unconstitutional in Ex Parte Merryman.

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  1. And then what? This didn’t end with Taney’s decision, which I don’t believe was a SCOTUS ruling. And Taney wrote in his diary that he fully expected Lincoln to have *him* arrested…

    1. No it was Taney acting as circuit judge. The Lincoln Administration ignored the decision.

      Which makes me think — was Taney regularly being ignored by that point? I’ve always wondered about the legal effect of the Dred Scott decision. It held that black people had no rights. There were hundreds of black people registered to vote in the North. Were they then automatically purged from the rolls? There must have been a number of black plaintiffs. Did their cases automatically get dismissed?

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