Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Unknown Supreme Court Justices

Vanderbilt University held a seminar on, and has published a series of papers about, neglected Supreme Court Justices. I haven't read any yet, but I'm happy to see that the antebellum era is well represented. There are articles on John Catron, the Jacksonian who corresponded with president-elect Buchanan concerning Dred Scott; and John McLean, the intensely political and (in my view) intellectually challenged Dred Scott dissenter and perennial presidential candidate.

But most interesting of all, to me at least, there is an article on William Johnson of South Carolina, who remarkably held, as Circuit Justice, that the South Carolina Negro Seamen Act was unconstitutional and who vehemently opposed nullification. I've been meaning to read something about Justice Johnson, and now I'll have the chance to do so.

Thanks to Prof. Orin Kerr at Volokh for the pointer.

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