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Legal History

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

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The Story Of Reynolds V. United States: Federal "Hell Hounds" Punishing Mormon Treason, Martha M. Ertman Jan 2008

The Story Of Reynolds V. United States: Federal "Hell Hounds" Punishing Mormon Treason, Martha M. Ertman

Faculty Scholarship

Part of the “Law Stories” series published by Foundation Press, this chapter in Family Law Stories tells the back story of the 1878 US Supreme Court case Reynolds v. U.S.. While the case held that Mormon polygamy was not protected as the free exercise of religion, this chapter shifts our focus away from sex and religion and toward the Court’s language linking Mormon polygamy with “Asiatic and African” peoples as well as political despotism. This close examination of the historical record shows that 19th century concerns about Mormon separatism – commercial, social and political separatism as well was religious ...


Dangerous Woman: Elizabeth Key's Freedom Suit - Subjecthood And Racialized Identity In Seventheenth Century Colonial Virginia, Taunya Lovell Banks Jan 2008

Dangerous Woman: Elizabeth Key's Freedom Suit - Subjecthood And Racialized Identity In Seventheenth Century Colonial Virginia, Taunya Lovell Banks

Faculty Scholarship

Elizabeth Key, an African-Anglo woman living in seventeenth century colonial Virginia sued for her freedom after being classified as a negro by the overseers of her late master’s estate. Her lawsuit is one of the earliest freedom suits in the English colonies filed by a person with some African ancestry. Elizabeth’s case also highlights those factors that distinguished indenture from life servitude—slavery in the mid-seventeenth century. She succeeds in securing her freedom by crafting three interlinking legal arguments to demonstrate that she was a member of the colonial society in which she lived. Her evidence was her ...


Standing At The Crossroads: The Roberts Court In Historical Perspective, Maxwell L. Stearns Jan 2008

Standing At The Crossroads: The Roberts Court In Historical Perspective, Maxwell L. Stearns

Faculty Scholarship

After eleven years, the longest period in Supreme Court history with no change in membership, the Roberts Court commenced in the year 2005 with two new justices. John Roberts replaced William Rehnquist as the seventeenth Chief Justice and Samuel Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor as Associate Justice. The conventional wisdom suggests that on the nine-justice Supreme Court, these two appointments have produced a single-increment move, ideologically, to the right. The two Chief Justices occupy roughly the same ideological position. In contrast, whereas O’Connor was generally viewed as occupying the Court’s centrist, or median, position, Alito has instead ...