According to NPR, the bust of US Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney will be removed from the Capitol and be replaced with Thurgood Marshall’s. The bill calling for its removal was passed on Wednesday, December 14, because lawmakers decided that the bust was “unsuitable for the honor of display to the many visitors to the Capitol.” The statue currently sits in the Old Supreme Court Chamber but is ordered to be replaced by Marshall’s within two years of the bills passing.
The main reason that officials decided it to be for the best to remove Taney was because of his role in the authoring of the Dred Scott vs. Stanford decision, which determined that Black people at the time were ineligible to become US citizens. They explained, “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 rooms that of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s Dred Scott v. Sandford decision,” The legislation called for honoring the first Black person to ever serve in the Supreme Court instead.
“Taney’s ruling denied Black Americans citizenship, upheld slavery, and contributed, frankly, to the outbreak of the Civil War,” State representative Steny Hoyer decided, “That’s why I and so many others advocated for his statue’s removal from the Maryland State House. In removing Taney’s bust, I’m not asking that we would hold Taney’s to today’s moral standards,” Hoyer instead articulated, “On the contrary, let us hold him who the standard of his contemporaries, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln … and all of those who understood that the enslavement of others has always been an immoral act.”