Ableman v. Booth; United States v. Booth (1859)
In 1854 the editor and abolitionist Sherman Booth was arrested in violation of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act by inciting a mob to rescue a captive slave from federal marshal Stephen Ableman. As a result of Wisconsin's so-called Personal Liberty statute which passed in response to the 1850 act, however, Booth was released on a writ of habeas corpus issued by the state supreme court. The court also declared the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional.
Five years later, however, the case was brought before the Supreme Court of the United States and Chief Justice Roger Taney, who was already widely despised among northern abolitionists for his decision in the Dred Scott case Taney was joined by all of his fellow justices in determining that Wisconsin s attempt at nullification was unconstitutional He and the Court not only struck down the state court s decision but also confirmed the constitutionality of ...