Prigg v. Pennsylvania
(This page was developed by a Berea College student as part of a course on Chesnutt)
Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney served 1836-1864
About the case:
From the case:
Judge Taney: [There are two clauses in the constitution upon the subject of fugitives, which stands in juxtaposition with each other, and have been thought mutually to illustrate each other. They are both contained in the second section of the fourth article, and are in the following words: "A person charged in any state with treason, felony or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall, on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime." "No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."]
The concern in this case was the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Personal Liberty Law. This law basically says that a slave can come to Pennsylvania and be a free person and not have to worry about being forced back into enslavement. And those who try to infringe upon the rights of the free black people that the Liberty Law gives, with be reprimanded.
The court used the Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850 to make their decision.
Reference: All information on this page was found in the book: Civil Rights Decisions of the United States Supreme Court: The 19th Century.
Editors: Maureen Harrison & Steve Gilbert