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Leid Stories – 10.01.15

The Constitution and Citizenship: The Dred Scott Decision (Conclusion)
We conclude today the discussion on the Dred Scott decision of 1857 – a case often cited as producing the worst ruling in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Legal scholar Paul Finkelman, who teaches constitutional law, legal history, and race and the law at Albany Law School in New York, gave us, in two consecutive weeks, a detailed background of the case and the constitutional questions it raised.
Dred Scott, enslaved at birth – around 1799, in Southampton County, Virginia – sued for his freedom and the freedom of his wife and two daughters, on the grounds that they had lived in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory, where slavery had been outlawed. But the Supreme Court, in a 7-2 ruling, said that no person of African ancestry ever was meant to be a citizen of the United States, nor to benefit from any rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Today we hear from Justice Stephen Breyer, an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, on the matter.

torture

High Court’s Ruling, Say Critics, Endorses ‘Torturing People to Death’ – Sarah Lazare

In the most closely-watched death penalty case in years, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled 5-4(pdf) that Oklahoma can use the controversial and experimental execution drug midazolam that was behind the last year’s horrific killing of 38-year-old man Clayton Lockett—who writhed and groaned for 43 minutes before ultimately succumbing to a heart attack. The decision not only gives the approval for states …