House votes to remove Confederate statues and replace Roger B. Taney bust

The House will vote on a resolution to expel Confederate statues and replace the Capitol's bust of Roger B. Taney, pictured here on March 2020, with one honoring Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice.

By Alex Rogers, CNN

(CNN) -- The House passed a resolution Tuesday to expel Confederate statues from the US Capitol and replace its bust of Roger B. Taney, the chief justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision, with one honoring Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice.

The vote was 285 to 120. Sixty-seven Republicans voted with 218 Democrats in support of the bill.

The House passed a similar resolution last year on a bipartisan basis but it stalled after Republicans in the Senate argued that the states should decide which statues they'd like to display in the Capitol. The legislation has a better chance to pass now that Democrats hold the Senate majority.

The mass protests following George Floyd's death last year under the knee of former police officer Derek Chauvin renewed the effort in Congress to remove the statues. Chauvin was sentenced last week to over 22 years in prison.

"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," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer after he introduced the resolution again this year.

The House legislation would not only replace Taney's bust in the old Supreme Court chamber and remove statues of those who voluntarily served the Confederacy against the United States in the Civil War, but also oust statues of three elected officials who defended slavery, segregation and White supremacy: John C. Calhoun, Charles Aycock and James P. Clarke.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he'd support the bill, and noted that the controversial statues were of Democrats.

"I think the bill should go further: Maybe it's time the Democrats changed the name of their party," McCarthy said.

Throughout the US Capitol, there are statues honoring soldiers and generals wearing Confederate uniforms, including Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederacy. A belt buckle on a statue of Joseph Wheeler, a general in the Confederate Army, is clearly marked with "CSA" for Confederate States of America.

Every state sends two statues of prominent residents to the Capitol as part of the National Statuary Hall Collection, and several states have already made plans to swap out their statues.

In 2016, Florida state lawmakers voted to replace its statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, but it still remains in the Capitol until a statue of civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune is made. Arkansas is pulling its controversial statues for the country music legend Johnny Cash and civil rights leader Daisy Bates.

And in December, Virginia decided to remove its statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and replace it with one honoring Barbara Rose Johns, an African American woman who played a key role in the civil rights movement.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

The-CNN-Wire
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