Lincoln on Dred Scott decision: This does not establish settled doctrine…
(CUSA) – Comparing the decision to uphold slavery in 1857 to the court defined marriage edict in 2015 is tricky because critics say they are not morally equal. In fact, the issue is not to compare slavery to same-sex marriage but to religious freedom and democracy.
Over at the American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord makes the case that Lincoln would reject this decision not simply in moral grounds but on the partisan action of the court:
Writing gay marriage into the Constitution as once there was a Supreme Court decision that attempted to write slavery into the Constitution. Make no mistake. Whatever else the five lawyers in black robes thought they were doing with their ruling on gay marriage, they have opened the door — many think the door was already open — for a full-blown assault on religious liberty.
Who better to look to for a response to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision than the man who earned his marble statue on the Washington Mall by opposing the idea that the Dred Scott decision should be regarded as “settled law”?
Substitute the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage — which many Americans see as yet another assault on religious liberty — with the hotly controversial issue of the Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision on slavery… a deliberate attempt by Democrats on the bench to make slavery constitutional.
Lincoln’s own analysis of the case as an experienced lawyer and politician makes no mistake in recognizing that with the slim majority vote along partisan lines they strayed considerably from history and truth:
If this important decision had been made by the unanimous concurrence of the judges, and without any apparent partisan bias, and in accordance with legal public expectation, and with the steady practice of the departments throughout our history, and had been in no part, based on assumed historical facts which are not really true;
Or, if wanting in some of these, it had been before the court more than once, and had there been affirmed and re-affirmed through a course of years, it then might be, perhaps would be, factious, nay, even revolutionary, to not acquiesce in it as a precedent.
But when, as it is true we find it wanting in all these claims to the public confidence, it is not resistance, it is not factious, it is not even disrespectful, to treat it as not having yet quite established a settled doctrine for the country….
So let us hope and better yet pray that our current Congress and new president also recognize this decision as a distortion of jurisprudence, history and truth. —DNW
Read Lord’s complete analysis at The American Spectator