The U.S. Capitol Building will no longer publicly display a statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, the author of the racist 1857 Dred Scott Decision.
The U.S. House this week passed a bill that orders the removal of Taney’s statue.
The bill declared that Taney’s actions “renders a bust of his likeness unsuitable for the honor of display to the many visitors to the Capitol.”
The Dred Scott decision defended slavery and denied citizenship to African Americans.
Earlier this month, the Senate unanimously passed the bill, which now heads to President Joe Biden for his signature.
The legislation directs the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library to remove the statue, which sits inside the entrance to the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol.
Officials have decided to replace Taney’s statue with one of Thurgood Marshall, the high court’s first Black justice.
“The Dred Scott v. Sanford Supreme Court decision is a stain on our country’s history, and it was made under the Taney Court,” Congressman David Trone (D-Maryland) said when he and fellow Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer introduced the measure in 2020.
“It’s time for us to remove this statue and denounce the institutions of slavery and racism once and for all. They have no place in the United States Capitol or anywhere in our country.”
Hoyer added that a bust of Taney should not be displayed in a place of honor in the U.S. Capitol.
“In Maryland, we made the decision to remove a statue of Taney from the State House grounds, reflecting his shameful contribution to the evil system of slavery and its defense, and we ought to do the same here,” Hoyer reflected.
“We are better than this, as our late colleague Elijah Cummings would say. It is time to make it clear to visitors from across our nation and from abroad that America celebrates champions of inclusion and equality, not proponents of hate and injustice.”
The bill states that “while the removal of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s bust from the Capitol does not relieve the Congress of the historical wrongs it committed to protect the institution of slavery, it expresses Congress’s recognition of one of the most notorious wrongs to have ever taken place in one of its 19 rooms.”
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