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George Floyd: The Legacy of Scott v Sandford

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
via Zoom
Katie Pfannenstiel, (402) 472-8382,
Sponsored by the Equal Justice Initiative, Lennox S. Hinds, professor emeritus in the Program in Criminal Justice at Rutgers University and world-renowned criminal defense and international human rights lawyer will discuss the George Floyd case and it’s relevancy to the Scott v Sanford case.

The Dred Scott case took place during the national divide in the United States about the issue of slavery which ultimately led to the Civil War. At the beginning of his decision on this case, Chief Justice Taney posed the core question that he thought the case presented.

“The question simply put is this:
Can a negro, whose ancestors were imported into the country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all of the rights and privileges and immunities guaranteed by that instrument to the citizen?”

In a 7-2 decision, the court went on to answer the question in the negative. Notwithstanding that the above decision was overturned, the badges and indicia of slavery and its legacy of racist and unequal treatment of people of African descent under the laws and the Constitution of the United States continue to the present as reflected in the public lynching of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. This act sparked national and international outrage precipitating the establishment of the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States. In my formal presentation, I intend to detail some of the legal history following the Dred Scott case and to highlight the findings and recommendations of the Commission’s Report which was filed with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Hinds formerly represented Nelson Mandela and lectures in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America and has published and taught international law for more than 20 years.


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