Gordan, John D., III. "This Practice Against Law": Cuban Slave Trade Cases in the Southern District of New York, 1839-1841. xv, 117 pp. Clark, New Jersey: Talbot Publishing (an imprint of The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.), 2016. ISBN-13: 9781616195458. ISBN-10: 1616195452. Hardcover. New. $49.95 * "This Practice Against Law" reconstructs the little-known story of the Butterfly and the Catharine, two slave ships from Havana seized by the British Navy off the African coast in 1839. These ships were tendered to the federal government for forfeiture proceedings and their captains prosecuted in the Southern District of New York and the Supreme Court of the United States. At the same time Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney conducted proceedings against the Catharine's builders in the Circuit Court in Baltimore. Based on the original case files in the National Archives and British Parliamentary publications, this in-depth review refutes the criticism of the federal judiciary in the prior scholarly assessment of these cases and demonstrates that in fact the performance of the federal judges compares favorably with other branches of the American government. "John Gordan marvelously and meticulously reconstructs two slave ship cases, litigated in the Southern District of New York, after the 1839 British seizure of the Catharine and the Butterfly.... Gordan's insightful tracing of the proceedings regarding these two little-known vessels provides an instructive contrast to the more famous events unfolding in the near-contemporaneous journey of the Amistad through the federal courts.... Gordan's first-rate documentary detective work and insightful scholarship shed new and important light on the legal and political conditions of the Cuban slave trade in the 19th century. It is the latest gem from a leading authority of the history of the federal courts." -- Christian G. Fritz, University of New Mexico John D. Gordan, III, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, clerked for the Honorable Inzer B. Wyatt, U.S. District Judge (S.D.N.Y.), from 1969 to 1971 and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (S.D.N.Y.) from 1971 to 1976. He was in private practice in New York City from 1976 to 2011.
Book number 65305