Replacement of Bust of Roger Brooke Taney with Bust of Thurgood Marshall

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 15, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of S. 5229, legislation to:

remove the bust of Roger Taney from the United States Capitol

and commission a new statue honoring Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Let us salute those who have fought for this action in the House:

Leader Steny Hoyer

Whip Jim Clyburn

CBC Chair Joyce Beatty

Chair Bennie Thompson

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congressman G. K. Butterfield and our former colleague, Mayor Karen Bass.

Driven by their leadership, this Chamber has proudly and repeatedly voted to remove statues of Taney, Confederate officials and other advocates of bigotry from the Capitol grounds.

The House is grateful to the Senate for taking an important step forward--voting unanimously to remove this vile tribute to Taney-- author of the horrendous Dred Scott ruling.

We look forward to swiftly sending this bill to the President's desk, and we remain committed to sweeping out other vestiges of hate from the halls of Congress.

This building is a Temple of Democracy. It is a monument to our nation's most fundamental ideals.

It reflects all that we take pride in as a nation--and so too should the tributes that grace its halls.

They should honor those who sought to strengthen our Democracy for all--not weaken it in favor of a few.

They should honor those who fought to expand freedom--not restrict its blessings.

There is no room for celebrating the violent, racist atrocities of our past--nor those who championed them.

That is why, in 2020, I proudly ordered the removal of the portraits of four Speakers who traitorously served in the Confederacy.

It is why the House has voted to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol.

And it is why we have made clear again and again that Roger Taney must have no place under this sacred roof.

Taney's legacy is one of hatred and oppression:

a mind twisted by bigotry

and a lifetime spent defending the evils of slavery.

He is inextricably linked to one of the most horrific chapters of our history. And yet, this bigot's likeness still casts a shadow over the Old Supreme Court Chamber.

Who better to replace him than one of the most admired jurists of our history: Justice Thurgood Marshall.

A trailblazing champion of civil rights--a voice for equal justice under the law and a force for our Democracy--Justice Marshall sought to uphold the best of America.

Personally, I will be deeply proud to see this Baltimore native take his rightful place amid the Capitol's pantheon of great American patriots.

His statue will bring luster to this building, just as his legacy continues to bring luster to our nation: guiding America toward the future our children deserve--one ruled by understanding, not prejudice.

Indeed, speaking in Philadelphia's Independence Hall three decades ago, Justice Marshall warned:

``Democracy cannot flourish amid fear. Liberty cannot bloom amid hate. Justice cannot take root amid rage.''

Today, the Congress honors those words. With this vote, we toss into the dustbin of history a monument to fear--to hate--to rage.

With this vote, we renew our resolve to ensure that:

Democracy will flourish

liberty will bloom

and justice will take root, from sea to shining sea.

Mr. Speaker, I urge a resounding, bipartisan `aye' vote to finally send this bill to the President for signature.