The Road Not Taken: Dred Scott, Judicial Authority, and Political Questions

Posted: 25 May 2001

See all articles by Keith E. Whittington

Keith E. Whittington

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Abstract

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

Whittington, Keith E., The Road Not Taken: Dred Scott, Judicial Authority, and Political Questions. Journal of Politics, Vol. 63, No. 2, May 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=263038

Keith E. Whittington (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States
609-258-3453 (Phone)
609-258-1110 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~kewhitt/

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