In this presentation, Sterling will describe the background and consequences of the controversial Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Often cited as the worst Supreme Court decision in history, Dred Scott was a major factor on the road to the Lincoln presidency and the Civil War. Ultimately, Dred Scott led to the passage of the 14th Amendment, which was not only a vital moment in the history of the civil rights movement, but has become one of the most widely used (and occasionally misused) provisions in the Constitution.
Grant Sterling is an associate professor of philosophy at EIU, specializing in ethics and medieval philosophy. He is an EIU alumnus, graduating in 1990 with a B.A. in philosophy, before obtaining a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He was selected as the 2014-15 faculty laureate and has twice been elected president of the Illinois Philosophical Association. He is also completing his second term as chair of the EIU Faculty Senate. Sterling’s research includes issues regarding constitutional interpretation, especially with regards to the 14th Amendment.