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Without Fear or Favor:" A Biography of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney
Without Fear or Favor A Biography of Chief Justice Roger B Taney Author:Walker Lewis Between 1801 and 1864, the United States had only two Chief Justices -- John Marshall and Roger Brooke Taney. Marshall has come down through history as one of the great American statesman-jurists; Taney is most often remembered only for his misquoted and misunderstood opinion in the Dred Scott case. Yet Taney was a brilliant judge, a humble an... more »d humanitarian man, a fearless advocate of the liberties of the individual.
Born a member of a well-established Maryland family, Taney was elected to the legislature of his state at the age of twenty-two. In 1801, the young man moved to Frederick, Maryaldn, to practice law, but continued to be active in politics. Five years later he married a sister of Francis Scott Key; soon he became a leader of the Maryland bar and moved to Baltimore.
In the critical election of 1824, Taney left the waning Federalist party, and supported Andrew Jackson who was elected four years later and in 1831 appointed Taney Attorney General. This was the time of Jackson's war on the Bank of the United States, and Taney was in the front trenches. Finally, when the Secretary of the Treasury refused to remove the government deposits from the Bank, he was replaced by Taney. In 1836, Taney succeeded Marshall as Chief Justice.
Roger Brooke Taney presided over the Supreme Court for twenty-eight years during the most trying times of the country's history. Slavery, states' rights, the liberties of individuals in wartime, all came before the Court in a stream of vital cases. Taney was a Constitutionalist in a much stricter sense than his great predecessor, and the suppression of freedoms which he felt to be the very bases of liberty frequently forced the Chief Justice into opposition to the war-harassed government.
Unpopular as some of his opinions made the old justice, he never yielded in his principles, and dying in the last year of the war, went down with dignity and courage.
Here is the full story of Roger Brooke Taney -- his gentle and loving family life, the courtly warmth of his friendships, the strife of his official office. Mr. Lewis writes with objective understanding and presents a vivid portrait of a great American.
WALKER LEWIS, after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1928, started legal practice in Baltimore where he has lived ever since. At present he is General Solicitor for The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies with his office in Washington.
Mr. Lewis is a graduate of Princeton and served in the Army during World War II, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He is married and has four sons. When he is not at his legal work, he is happiest sailing small boats at Martha's Vineyard, or reading and writing history, to which he daily devotes "approximately two hours uninterrupted privacy in the process of commuting." WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR is Mr. Lewis's first book, but he has delivered and published various papers on legal and historical subjects.« less