The justices first heard arguments on the case in 1856 and held it over for rearguement in the 1856-57 session- perhaps to avoid rendeing a decision before the presidential election.
Three main questions were before the Court:
1) As a black man, was Scott a citizen with a right to sue in federal courts?
2) Had prolonged residence in a free state and territory made Scott free?
3) Was Fort Snelling actually a free territory- that is, did Congress in 1820 have the RIGHT to BAN SLAVERY in the Lousiana Purchase north of 36 30'?
Taney wrote at the time the Constitution was adopted Negroes "had far more than a century before been regarded as beings of inferior order...so far inferior, that they had no rights which a white man was bound to respect". Taney…