The Taney Court
Justices, Rulings, and Legacy
by Timothy S. Huebner
October 2003, 288pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-57607-368-1
$72, £54, 60€, A103
eBook Available: 978-1-57607-369-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

For decades, the Taney Court’s pro-slavery decision in the Dred Scott case tarnished its reputation among historians. It was only during the first half of the 20th century that the court received due credit for its important accomplishments in commerce, contracts, the protection of civil liberties, and defining the scope of presidential power.

An exploration of the U.S. Supreme Court during an era of dramatic sectionalism, slavery, and the Civil War.

The Taney Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy presents an in-depth analysis of the decisions and impact of the U.S. Supreme Court during the three-decade tenure of Roger B. Taney, one of the most important chief justices in U.S. history. A careful analysis of landmark decisions such as Dred Scott v. Sandford, Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, and Prigg v. Pennsylvania shows how the court interpreted issues of commerce, contracts, slavery, and separation of powers, and how, despite its perception as being pro-states rights, it actually expanded federal judicial power.

Profiles of the 20 justices who served on the Taney Court place a special emphasis on those who made the most significant impact, including Taney, Joseph Story, Benjamin Curtis, and John A. Campbell.


  • Includes a survey of the historical period that describes the major political, social, and economic developments of the middle decades of the 19th century such as the fierce competition between the Democratic and Whig parties, the rapid economic growth of the nation, and the Civil War
  • Offers an examination of the decisions reached in the Court's most important cases on the interpretation of the clauses of the Constitution relating to commerce, contract, and slavery
Timothy S. Huebner is associate professor of history at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. His published works include The Southern Judicial Tradition: State Judges and Sectional Distinctiveness.


"Timothy S. Huebner . . . has produced a strong addition to the ABC-CLIO Supreme Court Handbooks series . . . The brevity of The Taney Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy makes it an excellent introduction for students and other interested readers."—Journal of Southern History, February 1, 2006

"By putting the cases into historical context rather than historical events into the context of the cases, Huebner presents an impartial review of the judgments passed on Taney’s impact. This approach itself is a valuable educational tool to teach students who come to the subject of Taney with opinions already set . . . recommended for high school, undergraduate, and public library collections."—American Reference Books Annual, March 1, 2004

"An excellent, clear, and fair account of the tenure of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney . . . Highly recommended. General readers and upper-division undergraduates and above."—Choice, May 1, 2004
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