Selected Topics in Political Science: Freedom, Slavery, and the Law

Part I: Read the opinions of Chief Justice John Marshall and Justice Gabriel Duvall in Mima Queen and Child v. Hepburn. Queen v Hepburn (1813). Then summarize, in a paragraph or two for each, the reasons why they disagreed on whether the court should allow hearsay reputation evidence of Mima Queen’s family history. Then write a paragraph or two stating which opinion you would have supported if you were a Supreme Court Justice in 1813, and explaining why you agree with Chief Justice Marshall’s or Justice Duvall’s approach to the hearsay rule in freedom suits.

Part II: Read Finkelman’s description and analysis of the August 1832 codicil to Chief Justice Marshall’s will, declaring his intentions regarding his enslaved man Robin Spurlock and Spurlock’s daughter, Agnes Spurlock. Then type your answers to the following:
1. Describe in a paragraph or two the provisions, if any, that Marshall made in his codicil regarding the Spurlocks.
2. State, in a paragraph or two, what you think this codicil tells us about Marshall’s personal views on slavery and on his jurisprudence.

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