Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lemmon v. People III

I don't have time to create a thoughtful post on Judge Denio's opinion, so I'll briefly post another excerpt from Judge Wright's opinion that reveals where his sympathies lie. He describes slavery as

"a social condition that violates the law of nature (Virginia Bill of Rights, Sections 1, 15); a status, declared by Lord Mansfield, in Sommerset's case, to be 'of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political;' that originates in the predominance of physical force, and is continued by the mere predominance of social force, the subject knowing or obedient to no law but the will of the master, and all of whose issue is involved in the misfortune of the parent; a status which the law of nations treats as resting on force against right, and finding no support outside of the municipal law which establishes it. (Taylor's Elements of Civil Law, 429; Sommerset's case, 20 Howell's State Trials, 2; 2 Devereaux's R., 263.) Why should not the State be able to utterly suppress it within her jurisdiction?"

20 N.Y. at 630-31 (italics in original).

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