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"The conditions of the Indians in relation to the United States is perhaps unlike that of any two people in existence," Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, "their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward to his guardian. . .(they were a) domestic dependent nation." Established a "trust relationship" with the tribes directly under federal authority.
Speaking for a widely divided court, Chief Justice Taney ruled that Dred Scott was not a citizen and had no standing in court; Scott's residence in a free state and territory had not made him free since he returned to Missouri; Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in a territory (based on the 5th Amendment right of a person to be secure from seizure of property), thus voiding the Missouri Compromise of 1820.