U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen introduced legislation, Senate Bill 3863, to replace the statue of Roger Brooke Taney, author of the infamous Dred Scott decision that ruled that African-Americans were not U.S. citizens and that Congress could not prohibit slavery, with a bust of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the nation’s highest court.
“Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall is an inspiration, a person who propelled his rise from West Baltimore to the highest court in the country through hard work, intellectual evolution and unwavering morality,” said Cardin. “A civil rights icon, Thurgood Marshall argued cases that began to bring down the walls of segregation in his home state and nationwide. 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. I can think of no better person for us to highlight and celebrate in the U.S. Capitol.”
“As our country continues to grapple with the past and future of civil rights and systemic racism, we should highlight leaders in history that have propelled us towards justice and put an end to 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 Van Hollen. “Marshall’s work is a crucial reminder that we must continue pressing forward. His steadfast legacy should be memorialized in the Halls of Congress and never forgotten.”
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, joined by all Democratic members of the Maryland congressional delegation, is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.