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Serving as a Chief Justice, Attorney General, Secretary of War and Secretary of the Treasury, Roger Brooke Taney (1777-1864) was a Jacksonian advisor and confidante who was a primary target of the opponents of Andrew Jackson. Appointed by Jackson as Secretary of the Treasury in 1833, his nomination was rejected by the U. S. Senate the following year. Jackson then appointed Taney as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a move that anti-Jackson Whigs rejected. In 1835, when Jackson's Democrats took control of the Senate, the President nominated him as Chief Justice, and Taney was approved, serving in the post until he died in 1864. Taney had previously served as Jackson's acting Secretary of War (1831) and as Attorney General (1831-1833).
Taney is famous for being the sitting Chief Justice and supporter of the Dred Scott Decision (1857), which ruled that African-Americans were
"of an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race."
A native of Maryland, Taney was a believer in states' rights, yet he supported the Union during the days leading up to the Civil War. He was also a slave owner who eventually freed his slaves. In later years, Taney was hated in both the North and the South; often in conflict with Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln apparently tried to have Taney arrested at one point. Plagued by debt during his later years, Taney died at the age of 87, with Lincoln making no acknowledgment of his death or service to the court.
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