Lee Davis: Legal Word Of The Day - Obiter Dictum

Monday, August 25, 2014

Obiter dictum is something that is said in passing.  It is an observation or opinion of the court but one not necessary to the decision at hand.  It is sometimes a persuasive point but not relevant to the issue decided.

Mr. Chief Justice Taney writing for the Supreme Court in Dred Scott v. Sanford—one of the greatest travesties in American history--stated: ‘this court has decided against the jurisdiction of the circuit court…and if anything it may say upon that part of the case will be extra-judicial, and mere obiter dicta.” Dred Scott brought a lawsuit for his freedom in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri. He received a verdict in his favor, but this decision was deemed obiter dicta because a black person in 1856 was not recognized as a citizen of the United States.

 The obiter dictum in Dred Scott became the basis for the XIV Amendment ratified on July 9, 1868.  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and any of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person visits in its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

 Obiter dictum is pronounced (ob-i-ter dik-tem)

Lee Davis
Davis & Hoss, PC
508 East 5th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403

423-266-0605

 


Drunk Driving Charge Reinstated By State Supreme Court After Finding That Police Acted Reasonably

The Tennessee Supreme Court has reinstated charges of driving under the influence and violating the open container law against Williamson County resident Mechelle Montgomery in an opinion that restores evidence gained during a search. In February of 2012, two officers with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the residence of a woman named Corey Brown, who ... (click for more)

State Supreme Court Rules That Employee Does Not Qualify As Whistleblower

The Tennessee Supreme Court has affirmed the dismissal of a whistleblower claim by Charles Haynes, a former employee of Formac Stables, Inc., in Obion County. Mr. Haynes worked as a groom at Formac Stables. In April of 2010, hesuffered an injury to the head when kicked by a Tennessee Walking Horse named “Bruce Pearl.” Mr. Haynes claimed that Formac’s owner refused to allow him ... (click for more)

Hard Freeze Predicted In The Area For Saturday Night

Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to 28 degrees or less. Here is the latest report from the National Weather Service:  HARD FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT EDT /11 PM CDT/ TONIGHT TO 11 AM EDT /10 AM CDT/ SUNDAY... * EVENT... A HARD FREEZE EXPECTED WITH LOWS FROM THE TEENS NORTH TO THE UPPER 20S SOUTH LATE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Sunday Funnies

They say March roars in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. So as you reach for your lambs-wool sweater on this last Sunday of the month, allow me to lighten up a bit with a new edition of my Sunday Funnies. I have a delightful crowd that keeps me supplied in jokes and these are some of the best that have come my way: A WOMAN'S PERFECT BREAKFAST -- She's sitting at the table ... (click for more)