List of United States Supreme Court cases by the Taney Court

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Supreme Court of the United States
Taney Court
March 28, 1836 – October 12, 1864
(28 years, 198 days)
Seat Old Supreme Court Chamber
Old Senate Chamber
Washington, D.C.
No. of positions 7 (1836-1837)
9 (1837-1863)
10 (1863-1864)
Taney Court decisions
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

This is a partial chronological list of cases decided by the United States Supreme Court decided during the Taney Court, the tenure of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney from March 28, 1836 through October 12, 1864.

This page serves as an index of lists of United States Supreme Court cases. The United States Supreme Court is the highest federal court of the United States.

Supreme Court of the United States Highest court in the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, including suits between two or more states and those involving ambassadors. It also has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction. The court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions. Each year it agrees to hear about one hundred to one hundred fifty of the more than seven thousand cases that it is asked to review.

Taney Court

The Taney Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1836 to 1864, when Roger Taney served as the fifth Chief Justice of the United States. Taney succeeded John Marshall as Chief Justice after Marshall's death in 1835. Taney served as Chief Justice until his death in 1864, at which point Salmon P. Chase took office. Taney had been an important member of Andrew Jackson's administration, an advocate of Jacksonian democracy, and had played a major role in the Bank War, during which Taney wrote a memo questioning the Supreme Court's power of judicial review. However, the Taney Court did not strongly break from the decisions and precedents of the Marshall Court, as it continued to uphold a strong federal government with an independent judiciary. Most of the Taney Court's holdings are overshadowed by the Dred Scott decision, in which the court ruled that African-Americans could not be citizens. However, the Taney Court's decisions regarding economic issues and separation of powers set important precedents, and the Taney Court has been lauded for its ability to adapt regulatory law to a country undergoing remarkable technological and economic progress.

Case nameCitationSummary
United States v. Segui 35 U.S. 306 (1836)upholding the validity of a Spanish land grant in Florida
Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge 36 U.S. 420 (1837) Contract Clause of the Constitution
The Amistad 40 U.S. 518 (1841) slave trade and slave ownership
Swift v. Tyson 41 U.S. 1 (1842) Federal common law in diversity jurisdiction cases, later overturned
Prigg v. Pennsylvania 41 U.S. 539 (1842)runaway slaves
Luther v. Borden 48 U.S. 1 (1849)guarantee clause of Article Four of the United States Constitution
Passenger Cases 48 U.S. 283 (1849)taxation of immigrants, constitutionality of state laws regarding foreign commerce
Sheldon v. Sill 49 U.S. 441 (1850) Congressional control of the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts
Hotchkiss v. Greenwood 52 U.S. 248 (1850)Early standard for non-obviousness in United States patent law
Strader v. Graham 51 U.S. 82 (1851) slavery and the application of state laws thereof
Cooley v. Board of Wardens 53 U.S. 299 (1852) pilotage laws under the Commerce Clause
Dred Scott v. Sandford 60 U.S. 393 (1857) slavery, the definition of citizenship
Ableman v. Booth 62 U.S. 506 (1859)The contradiction of Federal law by States
Prize Cases 67 U.S. 635 (1863)presidential powers in wartime

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Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that the U.S. Constitution was not meant to include American citizenship for black people, regardless of whether they were enslaved or free, and therefore the rights and privileges it confers upon American citizens could never apply to them. The plaintiff in the case was Dred Scott, an enslaved black man whose owners had taken him from Missouri, which was a slave-holding state, into the Missouri Territory, most of which had been designated "free" territory by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. When his owners later brought him back to Missouri, Scott sued in court for his freedom, claiming that because he had been taken into "free" U.S. territory, he had automatically been freed, and was legally no longer a slave. Scott sued first in Missouri state court, which ruled that he was still a slave under its law. He then sued in U.S. federal court, which ruled against him by deciding that it had to apply Missouri law to the case. He then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, 36 U.S. 420 (1837), was a case regarding the Charles River Bridge and the Warren Bridge of Boston, Massachusetts, heard by the United States Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.

American Insurance Company v. 356 Bales of Cotton, 26 U.S. 511 (1828), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. The case involved the validity of a local court established by Congress in the Florida Territory whose judges lacked life tenure, as mandated by Article III of the Constitution. Chief Justice John Marshall upheld the courts on the basis of Congress's broad power to enact local laws for territories under Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution. The case was later discussed in Dred Scott v. Sandford, where Chief Justice Roger Taney distinguished it in holding that Congress could not ban slavery within a territory.

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Aboriginal title in the Taney Court

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Criminal law in the Taney Court

The Taney Court heard thirty criminal law cases, approximately one per year. Notable cases include Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), United States v. Rogers (1846), Ableman v. Booth (1858), Ex parte Vallandigham (1861), and United States v. Jackalow (1862).

The Roger B. Taney Monument is a statue of Roger B. Taney (1777–1864), who was the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, installed in Annapolis, Maryland, on the State House grounds. The sculpture, by the artist William Henry Rinehart, was unveiled on December 10, 1872. The sculpture, made of bronze, was commissioned by the Legislature of Maryland.

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Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the supreme court of the United States shall hereafter consist of a chief justice and nine associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum; and for this purpose there shall be appointed one additional associate justice of said court, with the like powers, and to take the same oaths, perform the same duties, and be entitled to the same salary, as the other associate justices.