Maryland’s State House Trust on Wednesday approved plans to remove from the capitol grounds a statue of former U.S. chief justice Roger B. Taney, who authored the majority opinion in the 1857 Dred Scott decision that said African Americans cannot be U.S. citizens.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who chairs the State House Trust board, said the previous day that he wanted the memorial taken down, echoing earlier calls from House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Benjamin Jealous, who pushed for its removal in the wake of violence that turned deadly during a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Hogan, Busch, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and Maryland Historical Trust Board Chairman Charles L. Edson make up the State House Trust board, which oversees the capitol building and its grounds. The group traditionally votes by email.
Busch, Edson and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R), who was acting as Hogan’s designee on the board, voted Wednesday to move forward with a plan to remove the Taney statue and “plan for its storage or relocation.”
It was unclear how Miller, who said Monday that he would not try to prevent Hogan from removing the statue, would vote on the proposal.
“It was our understanding that there would be a public meeting to vote on this and discuss other issues,” said Miller spokesman Jake Weissman. “That’s where we last left it.”