The fifth chief justice of the United States, Roger Brooke Taney, died this week 150 years ago during the final months of the Civil War. Taney had issued the majority opinion in the Dred Scott decision of 1857 that found a slave under Missouri law had no constitutional right to bring suit in federal court. The highly controversial ruling had helped to stoke tensions between North and South leading up to the war.
The Associated Press, reported Oct. 15, 1864, on mourning over Taney's death three days earlier. AP said from Washington that President Abraham Lincoln had turned out to bid farewell to the chief justice. "The remains of Chief Justice Taney were accompanied to the railroad train to-day, by President Lincoln and several members of the Cabinet. The body will be conveyed to Frederick, Maryland, for interment," the AP dispatch added. AP also reported the same day that the fighting in Virginia along front lines was in somewhat of a lull. "Accounts from the Army of the Potomac continue to represent all quiet along the lines, with the exception of occasional picket firing," according to The AP.