Many of those who object to the Obergerfell ruling have compared it to the disgraceful Dred Scott (1857) decision that declared that even free blacks could not be citizens and that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional thus effectively nullifying the idea of slave free states. Amy Davidson debunks this flawed analogy in a discerning article at The New Yorker. The analogy basically fails because “Dred Scott constrains liberty and Obergefell expands it,” but Davidson further breaks down the failures of this analogy by diving deeper into the Scott case. Thus Davidson’s exposé is also a reminder of the shameful racism that is part of our historical legacy.
Why are some using this analogy? Davidson concludes, “In part, Dred Scott is simply being used to give Obergefell a bad name—as pure invective, another way to call the decision rotten and the Supreme Court deluded. This is low enough; Dred Scott is a truly degraded decision, in a way that no other of the Court, conservative or liberal, has since matched. And, in part, the analogy reflects the notion, held by some contemporary conservatives, that they are now the ‘real’ victims of bigotry.”
Read the entire article here: What Does Marriage Equality Have to Do with Dred Scott? – The New Yorker.