Why the “Dred Scott” defense fails

Today I read an article by Neil Carter on the Godless In Dixie blog that points out the hilarious failure of a particular argument used by a lot of popular conservatives. This is the “Dred Scott” defense and it’s best exemplified by good ole Mike Huckabee:

What if no one had acted in disobedience to the Dred Scott decision of 1857? What if the entire country had capitulated to judicial tyranny and we just said that because the Supreme Court said in 1857 said that a black person wasn’t fully human—suppose we had accepted that, suppose Abraham Lincoln, our president, had accepted that, would that have been the right course of action?

Well that sounds a bit suspicious… at least it should and it did to Neil. Neil goes on to explain the specifics of the Dred Scott case:

The SCOTUS fail they keep referring to is the one in which a slave named Dred Scott, who had been living on free soil, sued for his freedom in 1846. The case took eleven years to finally culminate in a 7-2 Supreme Court ruling in 1857, and he lost his bid for freedom.  The reason?  Because the court deemed that people of African descent didn’t deserve the same rights as everyone else.  Even though Scott’s owner had moved to a state in which slavery was illegal, his status as human property couldn’t be changed because in order for him to sue his owner for his freedom, he would have to have the same rights as everyone else. But what rights does a slave even have in the first place?  The court decided they have none.

Sooooooooo lemme get this straight Huckabee & Co.

You’re trying to use a supreme court case in which they denied basic human rights to a class of citizens that are now of course recognized as humans that deserve the same fucking rights. A decision that would seem so racist and bigoted now that it’s quite literally unable to happen. You’re using that argument in support of denying a class of citizens basic rights that they deserve… effectively upholding the original SCOTUS ruling in the Dred Scott case…

(H/T Neil Carter)


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