Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
Dred Scott, a slave owned by a Dr. Emerson, was taken from Missouri to a free state and then back to Missouri again. Scott sued, claiming that his residence in a free territory granted him freedom. In a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court decided that Congress did not have the power to prohibit slavery in the territories, making the already repealed Missouri Compromise of1820 unconstitutional. Furthermore, the Court went on to state that blacks were not citizens of the United States and could not become citizens and therefore they could not sue in a court.
Copyright © 1997 Jonathan Chin & Alan Stern