Groves v. Slaughter

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Groves v. Slaughter, 40 US 449 (1841)

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  • This case involved a challenge to a slave state's constitutional provision that prohibited the importation of slaves for sale within the state.
  • The Court avoided the issue by construing the provision as requiring legislation to become effective.
  • The Justices expressed differing views about the proper treatment of the slave trade.
    • McLean: Did not consider slaves as articles of commerce and felt that state alone had power over slavery because of its local character
    • Baldwin: argued that each state’s law determined whether slaves were property. Slaves became articles of commerce between the states that treat slaves as property, and thus the trade should be subject to federal regulation.