WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), released the following statements on House passage of replacing the bust of former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger Brooke Taney with a bust of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the nation’s highest court. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen introduced the same legislation in the Senate.
“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. “Both hailed from Maryland, but Marshall was a beacon of hope for racial equality. Taney authored the worst decision in Supreme Court history, perpetuating the myth that Blacks were inferior and could not become citizens. Marshall’s uplifting voice of equality and opportunity is exactly what our nation needs at this moment.”
“From his hometown of Baltimore to the halls of the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall worked his entire life to secure civil rights for every American and build a more perfect union,” said Senator Van Hollen. “We must highlight leaders like Marshall, who have propelled our nation towards justice – and end the glorification of those who stood in its way. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the House for their steadfast work to honor Marshall, and urge the Senate to take up this bill immediately.”
As Chief Justice of the United States, Roger Brooke Taney was the author of the reprehensible Dred Scott decision that ruled that African-Americans were not U.S. citizens and that Congress could not prohibit slavery. Taney’s decision gave legal protection to the discrimination and racism that plagued our nation until the Civil War. After the Civil War, Congress and the states ratified the Reconstruction Amendments, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th constitutional amendments abolished slavery, established citizenship for African-Americans, and guaranteed the right to vote for all Americans.