The House has approved a bill to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders from the US Capitol, as well as a bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the author of the 1857 Dred Scott decision that declared African Americans couldn't be citizens. Besides Taney, the bill would direct the Architect of the Capitol to identify and eventually remove from Statuary Hall at least 10 statues honoring Confederate officials, including Lee, the commanding general of the Confederate Army, and Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, the AP reports. Three statues honoring white supremacists—including former US Vice President John C. Calhoun of South Carolina—would be immediately removed.
"Defenders and purveyors of sedition, slavery, segregation, and white supremacy have no place in this temple of liberty," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said at a Capitol news conference ahead of the House vote. The House approved the bill 305-113, sending it to the Republican-controlled Senate, where prospects are uncertain. Hoyer, a Democrat, co-sponsored the bill and noted with irony that Taney was born in the southern Maryland district Hoyer represents. Hoyer said it was appropriate that the bill would replace Taney's bust with another Maryland native, the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the high court's first Black justice. But even if legislation passes both chambers, it would need the president's signature, and President Trump has opposed the removal of historic statues elsewhere.
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