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Chief Justice Roger B. Taney Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: March 17, 1777 in Calvert County, Maryland.
Died: October 12, 1864 in Washington, District of Columbia
Biography | show moreshow less
President Jackson named Roger B. Taney (1777-1864) Secretary of the Treasury on September 24, 1833, but his nomination was rejected by the Senate on June 24, 1834. Taney was the first Cabinet nominee to be rejected by the Senate. He was nominated for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1835; but the Senate rejected that appointment too. In 1836, Jackson named Taney Chief Justice to succeed John Marshall. A change in the makeup of the Senate resulted in Taney's confirmation; he served until his death. Taney is chiefly remembered for his decision in the Dred Scott case, 1857, which stated that slaves were not citizens and that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in territories. (Ironically, Taney disliked slavery and had freed his own slaves.) The Dred Scott decision, intended to settle the slavery controversy, had the opposite effect, inflaming northern sentiment and exacerbating North-South tensions. Abraham Lincoln strongly criticized the Dred Scott verdict in his 1860 campaign for President. After his election, with southern states preparing to secede from the Union, Lincoln invoked extraordinary Presidential powers to preserve the union - including suspension of habeas corpus and the trial of civilians in military courts - nearly all of which were opposed by Chief Justice Taney, who considered secession acceptable and preferable to bloodshed.

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