Dred Scott case
Dred Scott case, suit brought by Dred Scott, a slave from Missouri, on the grounds that temporary residence in a territory in which slavery was banned under the Missouri Compromise had made him free. The majority opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857, read by Chief Justice Roger Taney, held that Scott could never be a citizen of any state and therefore could not sue his owner in federal court. Taney also declared the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. This decision inflamed and divided the nation, making the Civil War all but inevitable.