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11 April 2016

The Supreme Court at war with the President during the Civil War

A splendid, and elegantly delivered, lecture on the cases and issues before the US Supreme Court during the Civil War. The Chief Justice, Roger Taney (pictured right), was a pro-slaver, while the President of the country was, of course, the opposite. This illustrates how law can operate in a national crisis of which it is itself part.

Ex parte Merriman (1861), which concerned the use of habeas corpus as a way of getting round the draft, is the most interesting case. That was the Court against the President. The President won.

The talk is introduce by a black Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas. It was delivered within the Supreme Court itself.


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