July 16, 2021

Van Hollen, Cardin, Klobuchar, Booker, Warren Reintroduce Legislation to Replace Statue of Dred Scott Author Roger Taney with Trailblazing Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

Legislation also would remove statutes of men who volunteered to fight for the Confederacy against the U.S.

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation (S. 2366) to replace in the U.S. Capitol the bust of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney with one of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the high court. Mirroring legislation (H.R. 3005) that the House of Representatives approved last month, the bill also directs the removal of statues and artwork of individuals who voluntarily fought for the Confederacy. Full text of the legislation can be downloaded here.

“As we work to build a more perfect union, we must also redouble our efforts to bring to the forefront the leaders in our history that have propelled us towards justice and end the glorification of those who stood in its way. From his neighborhood in Baltimore to the halls of the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall worked his entire life to help build civil rights in America from the ground up,” said Senator Van Hollen. “Marshall’s work is a crucial reminder that we must continue pressing forward. I urge my colleagues to pass this legislation to memorialize his work and to further honor his legacy through action.”

“Thurgood Marshall was an inspiration who helped tear down the walls of segregation in America. It is wholly appropriate that such a civil rights and legal icon displace Roger Taney in the U.S. Capitol,” said Senator Cardin. “Among other landmark cases, his arguments in Murray vs. Pearson led to the desegregation of the University of Maryland School of Law and his arguments in Brown vs. Board of Education led this nation to recognize that the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ was antithetical to our ideals of freedom and liberty. Celebrating Marshall’s voice of equality and opportunity is exactly what our nation needs at this moment, rather than continuing to memorialize those who spew hate or defended slavery.”

“The great-grandson of a slave, Justice Thurgood Marshall dedicated his life to the fight for equality. He left behind an incredible legacy that deserves to be recognized in the Capitol alongside others who made our nation a more perfect union,” said Senator Klobuchar. “I wholeheartedly support this legislation and will push to ensure its swift passage in the Senate.” 

“Monuments in the United States Capitol are meant to honor patriots who served, sacrificed, or made tremendous contributions to our nation,” said Senator Booker. “Those who committed treason against the United States to uphold and preserve the institution of slavery should not be afforded such a rare honor in this sacred space. As our nation continues to  grapple with systemic racism and white supremacy it is incumbent upon Congress to remove statues from the Capitol that perpetuate bigotry and hatred.”