Dear Senators Schumer, McConnell, Klobuchar, and Blunt:
We write to follow up from the letter we sent to Leader Schumer on September 24 of last year regarding H.R. 3005, which was passed by the House both this Congress and last. This legislation would provide for the bust of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney to be removed permanently from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the U.S. Capitol; as author of the heinous 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford ruling, Taney does not deserve that honor. Furthermore, the bill calls for the removal of other statuary depicting individuals who either served the Confederacy or were active in promoting the institutions of slavery and segregation. With the end of the 117th Congress approaching later this year, we write to ask again that you bring H.R. 3005 up for a vote in the Senate without delay.
Memorialization as part of the collection of artwork in the U.S. Capitol is one of the highest honors available to Americans and those who have stood with our country in defense of liberty and democracy. It is shameful that individuals who fought to uphold slavery, participated in seditious rebellion, or worked to promote segregation remain honored in such a way. It is an indignity for African-American Members, staff, and visitors to the Capitol buildings to be confronted with these memorials to those who viewed African Americans as inferior and unworthy of full and equal inclusion under our Constitution. It is essential that we correct this injustice now.
Introduced by Leader Hoyer, H.R. 3005 passed the House on June 29, 2021, and has been awaiting Senate action ever since. We implore you to bring this legislation up for consideration so that these odious symbols can be removed from the sacred halls of our American temple to democracy. On January 6 last year, Americans were shocked and appalled to see the Confederate battle flag carried into the Capitol by insurrectionists; African-American Members, staff, and visitors must see just as poignant a symbol of injustice every single day in the likenesses of these individuals who were at the root of what that flag represents. That must end. It is time for Roger Brooke Taney, John C. Calhoun, Charles Aycock, James Paul Clarke, Jefferson Davis, James Z. George, Wade Hampton, John Kenna, Uriah Rose, Alexander Stephens, Zebulon Vance, Joseph Wheeler, Edward White, and John C. Breckenridge to leave the Capitol and not return. Statues memorializing each of these individuals would be removed under H.R. 3005. This legislation would also replace Taney's bust with one of another Marylander: Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. We hope that you will take steps to allow the Senate to act on this bill without further. delay. We thank you for your consideration of this request to advance H.R. 3005 and the important and meaningful goals it seeks to achieve, long overdue.