On Tuesday, the House approved a bill that will remove Confederate statues from the US Capitol. This also includes the planned removal of a bust of the former Supreme Court chief justice who wrote the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision.
Remove Symbols Of Slavery, Segregation, and Sedition
Before the House vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) spoke on the House floor. “This sacred space, this temple of democracy has been defiled for too long. We ought not to forget history.
We must learn from history. But we ought not to honor that which defiles the principles for which we … stand.” He added that “It’s time to remove those symbols of slavery, segregation, and sedition from these halls.”
The bill eventually passed by a margin of 285 to 120. All Democrats present in the session voted to approve the bill. 67 GOP House members joined the vote to remove the confederate statues. Afterward, the bill will head to the Senate for their consideration. It will need at least 10 Republican votes on top of a solid 50 Democrats vote.
Latest House Attempt
Even as a number of Republicans supported the bill, the GOP pointed out that Democrats represented the South during the Civil War and the Jim Crow.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) criticized Democrats as hypocrites. “The Democratic Party has doubled down on what I consider this shameful history by replacing the racism of the past with the racism of the critical race theory,” he said. McCarthy referred to the academic examination of systemic racism in American life. As a result, critical race theory became a rallying cry for conservatives.
Last year, the House passed similar legislation to remove Confederate statues. However, it never made it past the Senate. This year, with the Democrats holding a slim majority, the bill has a better chance of passing. Hoyer introduced the bill earlier this May.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing, and this legislation would work to right a historic wrong while ensuring our Capitol reflects the principles and ideals of what Americans stand for,” he said.
Remove All Members of the Confederacy
Once passed into law, the legislation will require all states to remove and replace any statues honoring members of the Confederacy in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol.
It will prohibit “persons who served as an officer or voluntarily with the Confederate States of America or of the military forces or government of a State while the State was in rebellion against the United States” from the collection.
The Capitol’s National Statuary Hall collection contains two statues from each of the 50 states. The states send their representative statues, which are people the state deems to be of historical importance. They range from Revolutionary hero Ethan Allen (VT) to blind activist Hellen Keller (AL).
Removal Of Bust Of Chief Justice Roger Taney As Well
In addition, the bill also calls for the removal of the bust of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney. Taney wrote the Dred Scott decision in 1857, which declared enslaved people were not citizens and did not have the right to sue.
Taney’s bust resides in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol. Once the bill becomes law, officials will replace it with a bust of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice.
Meanwhile, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) noted that Taney’s hometown of Frederick, Maryland, already removed Taney’s statue from their premises five years ago.
Raskin asked “Why should they occupy a place of honor and reverence in this building? In the name of original intent, Justice Taney transformed our Constitution into a white man’s compact,” Raskin said.
“He disgraced the Supreme Court. It would take the Civil War, the Reconstruction amendments, and the civil rights movement to dismantle the white supremacist constitution,” he added.
Watch the MSNBC news video reporting that the House votes (again) to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol:
Do you agree with the bill removing Confederate statues from the Capitol? What do you think this accomplishes?
Tell us what you think about the movement to remove confederate statues. Share your comments below.