Roger Taney

By: Amanda Underwood

Brief Description

Roger Taney career began as an attorney general and as a secretary of the treasury before being appointed to Supreme Court Chief Justice in 1836. He was a member of the Federalist party, but betrayed his party when he assisted the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Andrew Jackson. Once Jackson was elected, Taney helped Jackson sink the Bank of the United States. As a result, Taney was appointed the secretary of the treasury. When Chief Justice John Marshall died, Jackson attempted to reward his colleague, Roger Taney, by appointing him Chief Justice. However, Congress rejected the appointment. In the end, Taney became the first Catholic to govern the highest court in the United States. After becoming Chief Justice, Taney was involved in one of the most controversial, famous court case in the history of the United States, Dred Scott v. Sanford.
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Significance

Although Taney may have done much good as his time as a Supreme Court Chief Justice, his legacy was tainted with the controversy of the Dred Scott case. Taney ruled that Dred Scott (slaves) were not citizens of the United States, they were property, therefore they could not appear in court. Dred Scott had been living above the line established in the Missouri Compromise of 1820 for a long period of time, protesting that he should be a freed man. With Taney's ruling, he nullified the Missouri Compromise, and his decision became a catalyst for escalated tension between the North and the South.