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Considering Slaughterhouse Cases - Essay Example

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The author of the essay considers Slaughterhouse Cases, an 1873 ruling that addressed whether a certain Louisiana meatpacking law was in violation of the 13th and three clauses of the 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and the connection of Dred Scott ruling to this case.  …
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Considering Slaughterhouse Cases
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Scholars such as Hiroshi Fukurai note that the Slaughterhouse Court was able to connect the two cases “due to the passage of the 14th Amendment.”3 That Amendment had been adopted in 1868, 11 years after the 1857 Dred Scott ruling and five years before Slaughterhouse, but the Supreme Court had not yet had an opportunity to interpret its meaning. Slaughterhouse presented the first opportunity, and thereby also created a path for the Court to revisit Dred Scott. The result was the Slaughterhouse Court declared Dred Scott to have been overruled five years earlier by the first clause in the 14th Amendment, which “declared [the negro] to be a citizen of the United States.”4
As summarized by Donald Lively, “Five years after the [14th] amendment’s adoption, the Supreme Court seized an opportunity [in Slaughterhouse] to pass its own judgment on the extent to which state power and interests had been federalized.”5 In short, although it took several years, the Court in Slaughterhouse finally could return to Dred Scott via the path created by the 14th Amendment and, in so doing, substantially overturned it.  Read More
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