• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court ruled that it had no power to force state governors to extradite accused persons from their states, a decision that lasted until 1987.

A free black Ohioan helped a Kentucky slave escape to Ohio. The Kentucky governor asked two Ohio governors, first Salmon P. Chase then William Dennison, to extradite the Ohioan to Kentucky to stand trial for violating the fugitive slave laws, but both refused. The Kentucky governor sued Dennison under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction involving suits between two states. Chief Justice Roger Brooke TaneyTaney, Roger Brooke;Kentucky v. Dennison[Kentucky v. Dennison] was strongly proslavery but was apparently reluctant in the emotionally charged days before the Civil War to have the Court order the state governors to do anything. In writing the unanimous decision for the Court, Taney criticized the Ohio governors severely but held that the Court could not force them to extradite fugitives from one state to another. This ruling stood until Puerto Rico v. Branstad[case]Puerto Rico v. Branstad[Puerto Rico v. Branstad] (1987).Fugitive slaves;Kentucky v. Dennison[Kentucky v. Dennison]

Fugitive slaves

Scott v. Sandford

Taney, Roger Brooke

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