Earl M. Maltz


The dissenting opinion of Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis in Dred Scott has generally received lavish praise from commentators. Curtis is typically praised not only for his substantive conclusions, but also for his seemingly dispassionate analysis of the legal issues presented by the case. In many respects, this praise is well-deserved; Curtis's discussions of the issues of slavery in the territories and citizenship for free blacks are models of legal reasoning. However, a close analysis of other aspects of his opinion reveals that Curtis's analysis was at times distorted by his anger with the actions of Chief Justice Taney and other members of the Dred Scott majority.

Included in

Law Commons