Posted By Levi
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is a big supporter of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. The US Supreme Court recently ruled that the Constitution gives gays the right to marry.
Huckabee told a radio host last week that it was right for Davis to disobey the Supreme Court ruling because it is ok for Americans to ignore those rulings they disagree with.
But to justify this, Huckabee pointed to a US Supreme Court case called Dred Scott V Sanford.
“Michael, the Dred Scott decision of 1857 still remains to this day the law of the land, which says that black people aren’t fully human,” he said. “Does anybody still follow the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision?”
But Huckabee is dead wrong. Dred Scott is not the law of the land. It was the 14th Amendment that got rid of Dred Scott. It is really embarrassing for someone who is seeking the highest office in the nation to make such a terrible mistake with one of the most important Amendments to the Constitution.
So what was the Dred Scott case?
The case took place in 1857, just before the start of the Civil War. It was one of the most notorious decisions ever handed down by the US Supreme Court.
Scott was a slave in Missouri who sued his master, an army doctor, for his freedom. The majority decision of the Court was written by Roger Taney, a staunch supporter of slavery.
He wrote that because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue.
The framers of the Constitution, he wrote, believed that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.”
So, in other words, the Court made it absolutely clear that black people, whether free or slaves, could never become citizens of the United States because the people who wrote the Constitution did not intent them to be.
This decision enraged those who were fighting to end slavery, brought slavery to national attention and eventually contributed to the Civil War.
The War ended slavery but in order for blacks to become citizens and have the right to vote, the Dred Scott decision had to go. This is where the 14th Amendment came into being. It abolished the Dred Scott decision and explicitly made blacks citizens of the United States.
Here is Section 1 of the Amendment adopted on July 9, 1868
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
By the way, it is also the 14th Amendment that gives citizenship to anyone born in the United States including children of undocumented immigrants. And it is under this Amendment too that the Supreme Court says gays have the right to marry. The last line of Section 1 says no state can “ deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
So, Mr. Huckabee, Dred Scott is no longer the law of the land; it was for a while but was abolished with the passage pf the 14th Amendment nearly 150 years ago.