slavery, unconstitutional and void, and Mr. Lincoln
is going to pass an act reversing that decision and making it valid.
I never heard before of an appeal being taken from the Supreme Court to the Congress of the United States to reverse its decision.
I have heard of appeals being taken from Congress to the Supreme Court to declare a statute void.
That has been done from the earliest days of Chief Justice Marshall
, down to the present time.
The Supreme Court of Illinois
do not hesitate to pronounce an act of the Legislature void, as being repugnant to the Constitution
, and the Supreme Court of the United States
is vested by the Constitution
with that very power.
The Constitution says that the judicial power of the United States
shall be vested in the Supreme Court, and such inferior courts as Congress shall, from time to time, ordain and establish.
Hence it is the province and duty of the Supreme Court to pronounce judgment on the validity and constitutionality of an act of Congress.
In this case they have done so, and Mr. Lincoln
will not submit to it, and he is going to reverse it by another act of Congress of the same tenor.
My opinion is that Mr. Lincoln
ought to be on the supreme bench himself, when the Republicans get into power, if that kind of law knowledge qualifies a man for the bench.
But Mr. Lincoln
intimates that there is another mode by which he can reverse the Dred Scott
How is that?
Why, he is going to appeal to the people to elect a President who will appoint judges who will reverse the Dred Scott
Well, let us see how that is going to be done.
First, he has to carry on his sectional organization, a party confined to the free States, making war upon the slaveholding States until he gets a Republican President
elected [ “He never will, sir.” ] I do not believe he ever will.
But suppose he should; when that Republican President
shall have taken his, seat (Mr. Seward
, for instance), will he then proceed to appoint judges?
No! he will have to wait until the present judges die before he can do that, and perhaps his four years would be out before a majority of these judges found it agreeable to die ; and it is very possible, too, that Mr. Lincoln
's senatorial term would expire before these judges would be accommodating enough to die. If it should so happen I do not see a very great prospect for Mr. Lincoln
to reverse the Dred Scott
But suppose they should die, then how are the new judges to be appointed?
Why, the Republican President
is to call upon the candidates and catechise them, and ask them, “How will you decide this cast if I appoint you judge?”
Suppose, for instance, Mr. Lincoln
to be a candidate for a vacancy on the supreme bench to fill Chief Justice Taney
's place, and when he applied to Seward
, the latter would say, “Mr. Lincoln
, I cannot appoint you until I know how you will decide the Dred Scott
tells him, and then asks him how he will decide Tom Jones
's case, and Bill Wilson
's case, and thus catechises the judge as to how he will decide any case which may arise before him. Suppose you get a Supreme Court composed of such judges, who have been appointed by a partisan President
upon their giving pledges how they would decide a case before it arose, what confidence would you have in such a court?
Would not your court be prostituted beneath the contempt of all mankind?
What man would feel that his liberties were safe, his right of person or property was secure, if the supreme bench, that august tribunal, the highest on earth, was brought down to that low, dirty pool wherein the judges are to give pledges in advance how they will decide all the questions which may be brought before them?
It is a proposition to make that court the corrupt, unscrupulous tool of a political party.
But Mr. Lincoln
cannot conscientiously submit, he thinks, to the decision of a court composed of a majority of Democrats.
If he cannot, how can he expect us to have confidence in a court composed of a majority of Republicans, selected for the purpose of deciding against the Democracy, and in favor of the Republicans?
The very proposition carries with it the demoralization and degradation destructive of the judicial department of the Federal Government
I say to you, fellow-citizens, that I have no warfare to make upon the Supreme Court because of the Dred Scott
I have no complaints to make against