The three most pathetic judicial missteps …

Timeline

01/1959

Loving Case, Virginia – Trial Judge, Leon M. Bazile

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay, and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Henry B. Brown - Portrait

05/18/1896

Plessy v Ferguson – Opinion Mr. Justice Brown (US Supreme Court)

“It is true that the question of the proportion of colored blood necessary to constitute a colored person, as distinguished from a white person, is one upon which there is a difference of opinion in the different States, some holding that any visible admixture of black blood stamps the person as belonging to the colored race, others that it depends upon the preponderance of blood, and still others that the predominance of white blood must only be in the proportion of three fourths. But these are questions to be determined under the laws of each State and are not properly put in issue in this case. Under the allegations of his petition it may undoubtedly become a question of importance whether, under the laws of Louisiana, the petitioner belongs to the white or colored race.”[1]

Roger Taney - Portrait

03/1857

Dred Scott v. Sandford – Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (US Supreme Court)

“all blacks — slaves as well as free — were not and could never become citizens of the United States.”[2]

“They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery. . . . He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it. This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race.”[3]

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