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Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/United States/Taney, Roger Brooke

< Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition‎ | United States

Taney, Roger Brooke, chief justice, was born in Calvert county, Md., March 17, 1777. He graduated at Dickinson College in 1795, and was admitted to the bar in Maryland in 1799. Like many other Federalists, he became a supporter of Jackson about 1824, and was called by him to the office of secretary of the treasury in 1833. The charter of the Bank of the United States contained a clause, allowing the secretary of the treasury to order the revenues to be deposited in other places than the bank, giving his reasons therefor to Congress. This clause was meant to cover the case of places where there was no branch bank; Jackson wanted to use it to cover a refusal to deposit any of the revenues in any of the branch banks or in the mother bank. Taney gave the necessary orders, and the bank was deprived of the further use of the revenues. The senate refused to confirm Taney in his position, but his real work in this office had been done. Taney succeeded Marshall as chief justice of the Supreme Court. The leading incidents of his career were his opinion in the Dred Scott case, and his attempt in 1861 to maintain the writ of habeas corpus against President Lincoln's suspension of it (the Merryman case). His life has been written by Tyler, and is in Van Santvoord's Lives of the Chief Justices.