1859 – U.S. Supreme Court Defends Fugitive Slave Law

On this date, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney overturned a Wisconsin decision involving the fate of abolitionist Booth and his followers had released Joshua Glover, a captured fugitive slave, from a Milwaukee jail on March 11, 1854. Authorities accused Booth of , but the Wisconsin Supreme Court found him innocent and declared the federal Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional in Wisconsin. The case caught the attention of lawmakers nationwide over the next six years, as federal and state authorities wrangled over Booth’s fate. On March 7, 1859, the U.S. Supreme Court gave judgment reversing that of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The case finally ended when President Buchanan pardoned Booth in March, 1861, just before leaving office. [Source: by Fred L. Holmes, pg 185-202]