Ableman v. Booth
Ableman v. Booth, 21 Howard 506 (1859), was a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold abolitionist Sherman M. Booth's conviction for assisting in the rescue of a fugitive slave at Milwaukee. A judge of the Wisconsin Supreme Court had released him on a writ of habeas corpus, saying that the Fugitive Slave Act was unconstitutional. The case was carried to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Roger B. Taney rendered a unanimous opinion pronouncing the Fugitive Slave Act valid and forbidding a state to interfere with federal prisoners by habeas corpus writs.
While this decision effectively nullified laws such as the Massachusetts Personal Liberty Act, it was largely ignored in the North. The next year, the South was still protesting that fugitive slaves were not being returned.
- Swisher, Carl B. Roger B. Taney (1961)
- Full text of Taney's opinion