The Road Not Taken: Dred Scott, Judicial Authority, and Political Questions
Posted: 25 May 2001
Dred Scott is usually remembered for the reviled substantive values it embraced and the damage it inflicted on the Court's prestige. This paper argues that the Court had been moving toward such a debacle by gradually embracing judicial supremacy and the belief that the Court alone could resolve all important constitutional disputes. The paper examines a Jeffersonian tradition that was critical of that tendency. The paper also examines the dissenting opinion of Justice Benjamin Curtis for his recognition of an important sphere of constitutional politics outside the judiciary.
JEL Classification: K0, K30, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation