Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Marylanders Remove Statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney and They Don't Even Know Who He Was!


Now that Marylanders are eradicating all traces of Roger B. Taney, they will never know why they ever built tributes to this distinguished Marylander in the first place but then again, most have probably never been curious why anyway.  He was not JUST a Supreme Court Justice, he was the fifth CHIEF JUSTICE of the United States serving for over 28 years (1836-64) which made him the second longest serving Chief Justice in US history behind only John Marshall.  He was also the Attorney General (1831-33) and the Secretary of the Treasury (1833-34) and he was the first non-protestant ever to serve in a president’s cabinet.  Taney remained loyal to the Union throughout the Civil War.

The Dred Scott vs. Sandford decision for which he is now being vilified was a 7-2 decision with Taney in the majority and was decided on the basis of interpreting the Constitution as it was written.  It took the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to "fix" the Constitution so it appears Taney's interpretation was correct at the time of the decision.

Taney was personally against slavery and, when he inherited slaves at the death of his father, he manumitted all of them and even provided pensions to the ones too old to work.  He famously condemned Slavery as “a blot on our National character.”  Chief Justice Taney even administered the oath of office to Abraham Lincoln on 4 March 1861.

Finally, the USCGC Taney (WHEC-37) was one of the Coast Guard’s most historic ships and is now a museum ship in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988.  I suspect Marylanders next move will be to try to sink her one night soon.

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