The Chase Court (1864–73)


What case did attorney Chase argue before joining the Court?

Salmon Chase argued the case of Jones v. Van Zandt (1847) before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of John Van Zandt, who helped slaves escape to free territory. Kentucky slaveowner Wharton Jones sued Van Zandt for harboring a 32-year-old male slave named Andrew. The Court upheld the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, rejecting Chase’s arguments that slavery was incompatible with the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which forbade slavery in many locations, such as Chase’s home state of Ohio.


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