Dred Scott was a Virginia-born slave who attempted to sue for his freedom in federal court. After the Supreme Court ruled against his suit for freedom, Scott, his wife Harriet, and their two children were freed with help from his first owners, the Blows.
Image courtesy of Missouri History Museum, St. Louis
Chief Justice Roger Taney
Roger Taney (March 17 1777 – October 12, 1864) was a wealthy Maryland politician, U.S. attorney general, and secretary of the treasury who became the fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court (1836 – 1864). He was the first Catholic justice. A slave owner in his early life, Taney freed most of his slaves before he assumed any major public office.
Justice Benjamin Curtis
Benjamin Curtis (November 4, 1809 – September 15, 1874) was a Supreme Court justice (1851 – 1857) who dissented in Scott. He was so angered by the Court’s decision that he became the only justice in history to resign on a matter of principle. Curtis was later chief counsel to President Andrew Johnson during his impeachment trial.