The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol, the latest effort by Congress to respond to the nationwide protests over systemic racism and injustice.
The bill would remove the bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney from the Old Supreme Court Chamber, in the Capitol. Taney authored the Dred Scott decision in 1857, which declared African Americans couldn’t be citizens and was later widely panned. The Taney bust would be replaced with a statue of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice.
The legislation would also remove three statues of Americans who promoted slavery and white supremacy — Charles Aycock, John C. Calhoun, and James Paul Clarke — and require states to reclaim and replace their Confederate statues in the Capitol. There are 12 Confederate statues in the Capitol collection.
“Today will be a historic day in the history of the Congress of the United States and of our country,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. “The House is taking a long-overdue and historic step to ensure that individuals we honor in our Capitol represent our nation’s highest ideals and not the worst in its history.”
Despite overwhelming support for the bill in the House, it’s unclear whether the GOP-controlled Senate will take up the legislation. Senate Republican leaders have so far declined to take action on the issue, saying it is up to states to replace the statues they send to the Capitol. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment on whether the upper chamber will consider the House bill.
It’s also unclear whether President Donald Trump would sign the bill given that he has used Confederate symbolism as a cause célèbre to rally his supporters in recent weeks.
GOP firmly on the side of the Confederacy here.
Remember that this November.