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Antonio Fuertes Dr. Amy Baehr Philosophy of Law 04/12/2013 Introduction: United States vs. Morris is one of the famous cases that led to nullification of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1864. Shadrach escaped from slavery in 1850 in Norfolk, Virginia and made his way to Boston.
During the proceedings, a large crowd burst into the court room and invited Shadrach to accompany them out. Eventually, Shadrach managed to escape to Canada. However, eight of his alleged rescuers, four whites and four blacks, were arrested and were charged with the violation of the Fugitive Slave Law by aiding the escape of the slave. Despite taking oath and promising to abide the law, the jurors handling this case acquitted the defendants and declared the Fugitive Slave Law null and void. This essay examines this issue in the light of the perspectives of earlier theories of law (the natural law, positivism and realism) and the perspectives of more recent theorists (Dworkin, critical legal theorists and Feinberg). Though they keep to different perspectives, these theorists, in various ways, support the fact that the critical jurors did the right thing by acquitting the defendants on the base that they were not guilty. Discussion Natural law theorists such as Aquinas argue that laws should be perceived to be derived from a divine providence. One of the natural law theorists, Blackstone, believed that natural law is build up on moral principles which originate from and are dictated by God himself (George 175). As such, it is superior to all other laws and it is binding over all societies globally, at all times. According to him, any human laws that contradict moral standards are of no validity. ...
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