WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) introduced legislation to remove the bust of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney from the U.S. Capitol building and replace it with a bust of Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall. Justice Taney was a Maryland native and served on the Supreme Court from 1836-1864 where he wrote the majority opinion in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sanford case. This ruling authored by Chief Justice Taney declared that Black Americans could not be citizens in the United States or awarded the same constitutional rights. His decision continues to be a stain on our nation’s history.
There are several works of art in the United States Capitol honoring former leaders of the Confederate States of America and generals in the Confederate States Army, including eight statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection, busts and portraits.
H.R. 3005 would also remove statues or busts of those that served voluntarily in the Confederate States of America from public display in the US Capitol and incorporates Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Confederate Monument Removal Act. In addition to the removal of Confederate statues and busts, the legislation orders the removal of statues of John Caldwell Calhoun, Charles Brantley Aycock, and James Paul Clarke. As symbols of slavery, sedition and segregation these statues and busts should not be prominently displayed in the Capitol.
Congressman Hoyer introduced the same legislation in the 116th Congress. The bill passed the House in July 2020 but was not considered by the Senate. Today, Congressman Hoyer was joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (SC-06) in introducing H.R. 3005.
“I am proud to once again introduce legislation to remove the bust of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney from a place of honor in our nation’s Capitol building,” said Congressman Hoyer. “The Dred Scott decision was a blot on our history and represents the tragic legacy of slavery and racism that should not be celebrated in our country. In my home state of Maryland, a statue of Chief Justice Taney was removed from the grounds of the State House, and it’s past time that we follow suit in the U.S. Capitol. It is fitting that we honor Justice Thurgood Marshall instead, a fighter for justice and inclusion, who sought to advance the civil rights movement. It’s never too late to do the right thing, and I look forward to ensuring this legislation passes the House once again.”
“Symbols of racism and hatred have no place in our country and should certainly not be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “The Dred Scott decision is a moral stain on our nation. Removing these statues is a long overdue step in addressing America’s painful legacy of racism. I’m proud to work with Majority Leader Hoyer on this legislation and will continue fighting to dismantle all forms of hatred and bigotry.”
“On January 6th, we experienced the divisiveness of Confederate battle flags being flown inside the U.S. Capitol. Yet there are still vestiges that remain in this sacred building that glorify people and a movement that embraced that flag and sought to divide and destroy our great country,” Congressman Clyburn said. “This legislation will remove these commemorations from places of honor and demonstrate that as Americans we do not celebrate those who seek to divide us.”
See below for the list of original co-sponsors for H.R. 3005:
- Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03)
- Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37)
- Congressman Anthony Brown (MD-04)
- Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01)
- Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
- Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05)
- Congressman Tom Malinowski (NJ-07)
- Congressman Kweisi Mfume (MD-07)
- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
- Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
- Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
- Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
- Congressman David Trone (MD-06)
- Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03)