SUPREME COURT OPINIONS: The Taney Court (1835 - 1864)
| JUDICIARY | TANEY COURT
OOOOFor each opinion, the author's name name is given first and in full, the following justices joining in the opinion. Concurring or separate opinions are those which agree with the result of the Court's opinion but differ with the reasoning, larger implications, or simply wish to add an aspect not touched on by the Court. Dissenting opinions, of course, are those which disagree with the Court's ruling. There may even be several dissenting opinions, depending on the nature of the several justices' disagreement.
|1837||Proprietors of Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of Warren River Bridge , 36 US 420 (1837)|
|Opinion: Chief Justice Roger Taney|
|Separate: J. John McLean|
|Dissent: J. Roger Taney|
J. Smith Thompson|
Marshall's decision in the Trustees of
Dartmouth College v. Woodward. Taney ruled that whatever rights
corporations derive from their charters must be explicitly stated in
their charters; that, as he wrote, "...in grants by the public,
nothing passes by implication..." His decision narrowing the
reach of contracts was directly related to protecting the public
interest against the rights of private property. Taney's decision also
affirmed the power of the states - known as the "police power"
- to regulate their own internal affairs as they saw fit.
|1841||United States v. The Libellants And Claimants of the Schooner Amistad , 40 U.S. 518 (1841)|
Justice Joseph Story
OOOThe Amistad decision.
|1852||Cooley v. Board of Port Wardens , 53 U.S. 299 (1852)|
|Opinion: Justice Benjamin Curtis|
|Dissent: Justice John McLean|
Justice Peter Daniel|
turns on the "commerce power" of Congress as given in Art.
1, § 8
of the Constitution, and the prohibition of states interfering with
trade in Art. 1, §§
specific question was whether Pennsylvania had the right to enforce
its laws requiring pilots on ships entering its ports.
|1856||Scott v. Sanford , 60 U.S. 393 (1856)|
Chief Justice Roger Taney
infamous Dred Scott decision which held that "A free negro of the
African race, whose ancestors were brought to this countryand sold as
slaves, is not a "citizen" within the meaning of the
Constitution of the United States...Consequently, the special rights
and immunities guarantied to citizens do not apply to them. And not
being "citizens" within the meaning of the Constitution,
they are not entitled to sue in that character in a court of the
|1863||Prize Cases , 67 U.S. 635 (1863)|
|Opinion: Justice Robert Grier|
Justice Samuel Nelson, C.J. Taney, J. Catron, J Clifford
cases addressed the President's power to wage war without a formal
declaration by Congress. Both Grier in his opinion for the court and
Nelson in his dissent agreed that, although only Congress, not the
President, could declare war, the President was authorized to meet
hostilities, both foreign and domestic, up to any level that was
necessary without a formal declaration of war. What they disagreed
over, however, was whether the President's actions gave that conflict
the legal - as opposed to a merely de facto - character of
war: in this case the power to seize neutral ships violating a
blockade. Grier said that, as a practical matter, the President's
actions had the legal force of war; that if a blockade and seizures
were necessary to meeting hostilities, then they were legal.