On March 6, 1857, the United States Supreme Court showed why courts should avoid involvement in political questions. Faced with the direct impact of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 on the day-to-day life of a slave, his wife, his children and his putative master, the Court wreaked havoc upon the law and the nation when it issued its ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford. The title of this post links to the decision itself.
Ed Whelan notes the legal impact here.
But a more uplifting story is in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch -- a profile of the case on Scott's great-great-granddaughter and the connection to two men living in the St. Louis area, a descendant of the slaveowner who freed Scott after the Supreme Court's decision, and a descendant of Scott's lawyer.