House passes bill to remove bust of Supreme Court justice who wrote racist Dred Scott decision

Washington DC - The US House passed a new bill that seeks to remove a bust of a Supreme Court justice who wrote the infamous Dred Scott decision from the Capitol building.

Congress has officially voted to remove a bust of Supreme Court justice Roger Taney, who penned the infamous Dred Scott decision, from the Capitol building.
Congress has officially voted to remove a bust of Supreme Court justice Roger Taney, who penned the infamous Dred Scott decision, from the Capitol building.  © Collage: IMAGO / UIG

A bust of Roger B. Taney, the fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court, sits on display in the Capitol building, but many have argued that it serves as a reminder of the darkest period in American history.

After a voice vote, the House approved the removal of the statue, which will be replaced by one of justice Thurgood Marshall, the court's first Black justice appointed in 1967.

"Over 3 million people visit our Capitol each year," explained Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer, who led the effort to remove the statue. "The people we choose to honor in our halls signal to those visitors which principles we cherish as a nation."

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"For Black Americans who have grown up in segregation, faced racial violence, and still confront institutional racism today, seeing figures like Taney honored here is a searing reminder that the past is present," he added.

The legislation seeks the removal of the bust, which will remain in the custody of the Senate Curator, within 45 days of the bill becoming law.

The infamous Dred Scott decision written by Roger Taney

The Dred Scott decision, written by Taney and passed on March 6, 1857, ruled that African Americans, even those living in free states, were not entitled to rights, and would never be considered citizens of the US.

It is widely considered the worst decision ever passed by the Supreme Court.

The bill to remove the bust is currently on its way to the desk of President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / UIG

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