Should Statues of Confederates or Other Defenders of Slavery & White Supremacy Be Removed From the U.S. Capitol? (H.R. 3005)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is H.R. 3005?
(Updated January 30, 2022)
This bill would direct the removal of a bust of a Supreme Court justice who authored an opinion upholding slavery from display in the Capitol’s Old Supreme Court Chamber, in addition to the removal of statues depicting individuals who joined the Confederacy or otherwise defended slavery, segregation, and white supremacy from Statuary Hall. It would authorize appropriations as may be necessary to carry out this legislation.
Specifically, it would:
Require the removal of the bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who authored a majority opinion that upheld slavery in Dredd Scott v. Sandford (1857), from the Old Supreme Court Chamber. It would be replaced with a bust of Justice Thurgood Marshall — the Court’s first Black justice.
Require states to reclaim & replace any statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection on individuals who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Require the removal of statues depicting John C. Calhoun, Charles B. Aycock, and John C. Clarke because of their role in defending slavery, segregation, and white supremacy.
Argument in favor
Statues of former Confederates and supporters of slavery or white supremacy should not be publicly displayed in the U.S. Capitol and states that have sent such statues need to replace them. This bill would ensure that the offending statues are removed from public display until the states that sent them to the Statuary Hall Collection arrange for them to be returned.
Several states are already in the process of replacing their statues depicting former Confederates or other supporters of slavery & white supremacy, and those that aren’t will likely follow suit soon. There’s no need for Congress to move the statues out of public view in the meantime.
States with statues of former Confederates or supporters of slavery and white supremacy on display at Statuary Hall; and visitors to the U.S. Capitol.
Cost of H.R. 3005
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In-Depth: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) reintroduced this bill to remove statues of supporters of slavery from the Capitol during 116th Congress, when he said the House would “show our country and the world that statues honoring defenders of racism, slavery, segregation, and white supremacy are not welcome in the U.S. Capitol building,” and added:
“It is appropriate that our bill removes the bust of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the author of the Dred Scott ruling in 1857 that upheld slavery, from the Old Supreme Court Chamber and replaces it with that of Justice Thurgood Marshall, a Marylander who fought for civil rights and equality as the Court’s first African-American justice. It is reprehensible that individuals who did so much to divide our country and dehumanize African Americans are honored in the halls of Congress. I hope all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join us in supporting this bill to right historical wrongs and ensure that the only people honored with busts and statues in the Capitol are those whose actions furthered the causes of liberty, unity, and equal rights.”
Original cosponsor Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) added:
“In this moment, the horrors of systemic racism are front and center and the manifestations are before the public each and every day. The removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol is an important step in dismantling the systems that hold us back on our path forward. As I said when I first introduced the Confederate Statue Removal Act in 2017: these painful symbols of bigotry and racism have no place in our society and certainly should not be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol. Justice Thurgood Marshall, a champion of equality and justice, is a fantastic addition to our Capitol and embodies the efforts we are making to eliminate symbols of hate and injustice.”
The National Statuary Hall Collection contains statues of two historical figures associated with each state, that are supplied by each state and displayed in the U.S. Capitol. Some statues that are or have been included in the National Statuary Hall Collection depict figures who are controversial because of their connections to the Confederacy, slavery, or Jim Crow, including:
Confederate President Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens of Georgia, both of whom were charged with treason.
Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee of Virginia (whose statue has been removed and will be replaced by one of Barbara Rose Johns), Joseph Wheeler of Alabama (who later served as general in the U.S. Army), and Wade Hampton III of South Carolina; Confederate Colonels James Z. George of Mississippi and Zebulon Vance of North Carolina; plus Confederate soldiers John Kenna of West Virginia, and Edward Douglass White of Louisiana (who later served as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court).
The statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith of Florida, will be replaced by a statue of African-American educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune; and the statue of Uriah Rose of Arkansas, a lawyer and county chancellor who sided with the Confederacy and whose statue is scheduled for replacement with a statue of Johnny Cash.
John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, who served as a U.S. senator and vice president and was a strong defender of slavery.
James Paul Clarke of Arkansas, a Democratic governor and U.S. senator who advocated for white supremacy. (Arkansas is replacing his statue with one of Daisy Bates, who was one of the Little Rock Nine.)
Charles Aycock of North Carolina, a Democratic governor who advocated for white supremacy campaigns during the Jim Crow era that disenfranchised blacks. (North Carolina has voted to replace his statue with one of the Reverend Billy Graham.)
Because Congress doesn’t have discretion over what statues states send for display, this bill would simply remove them from display in areas accessible to the public rather than sending them back to their state of origin.
The Democrats’ bill excludes one additional controversial statue depicting former Sen. Pat McCarran (D-NV), who held openly racist & anti-Semitic views that have prompted current members of Nevada’s congressional delegation to call for his statue’s removal.
This legislation has the support of 17 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats. Its predecessor passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 305-113 during the 116th Congress, but wasn’t considered by the Senate.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Press Release (116th Congress)
Countable (116th Congress)
Causes (116th Congress Bill)
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: iStock.com / florin1961)
Precision Fermentation: The Future of Sustainable Agriculture?What’s the story? COP27 ended with no significant action from world leaders, leaving environmental activists and experts beyond Environment
USPS' Operation Santa: Will You Be a Secret Santa for a Child in Need?How it Works The United States Postal Service (USPS) is once again getting in the holiday spirit with its Operation Santa Families
San Francisco Authorizes Police To Use Killer Robots – Should More Cities Do the Same?What’s the story? The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) will allow its law enforcement robots to use deadly force on people Criminal Justice Reform
IT: 🏛️ Senate passes a bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriage, and... Is the U.S. doing enough to assist Iran?Welcome to Wednesday, November 30th, cyborgs and cybernetics... The Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that