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Constitutional Law Keyed to Barnett
Prigg v. Pennsylvania
Citation:41 U.S. (16 Pet.) 53 (1842)
Margaret Morgan was enslaved in Maryland by John Ashmore. With the permission of Ashmore, Margaret Morgan left Maryland and went to Pennsylvania to marry. After Ashmore passed away, Ashmore’s wife enlisted Edward Prigg to capture Morgan and return her to enslavement. Prigg captured Morgan and her children and returned them to Maryland. Prigg did not obtain a ‘certificate of removal’ before returning Morgan to Maryland, which violated a Pennsylvania law that required certificates of removal to be obtained from a Pennsylvania judge. Prigg was convicted of kidnapping in Pennsylvania. Prigg challenged his conviction, arguing that the Pennsylvania law was unconstitutional because it conflicted with the Fugitive Slave Act.
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