Statue of Pro-Slavery Supreme Court Justice Removed In Maryland

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Taney was chief justice of the United States and author of the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision, which upheld slavery and found that black Americans could not be citizens.

Authorities in the US state of Maryland have removed a statue of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney from the grounds of the State House in the latest example of action over Confederate monuments across the United States.

Crews in Maryland's state capital, Annapolis, removed the 145-year-old bronze statue of Roger Taney from its base outside State House overnight using a crane, local media showed.

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Taney, as author of the majority opinion in the Dred Scott decision, defended slavery and said that African Americans were not USA citizens under the Constitution at the time.

Efforts to remove many such statues around the country have been stepped up since the Charlottesville rally, called by white nationalists to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

On Wednesday, three of four voting members of Maryland's State House trust decided in favor of moving the statue. While he acknowledged the "the inflammatory and derogatory language" of the Dred Scott decision, he noted that Taney also "served with distinction" as lawmaker, state attorney general and US attorney general.

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Hogan said earlier this week that he wants the State House Trust to have the statue removed.

The mayor said she's been working on removing the statues for months.

Jealous tweeted a video Thursday comparing Hogan's past remarks on the issue to recent comments from President Trump, who questioned whether taking down Confederate statues would eventually lead to the removal of memorials to slave-owning national heroes such as Washington.

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The bronze statue of him was erected in 1872, just outside the original front door of the State House. Maryland Senate President Mike Miller wrote a letter to Governor Larry Hogan yesterday saying the vote lacked transparency and there should have been a public meeting.

In an article published on Monday for the Baltimore Sun, Cox reported that officials have long grappled with what to do with the statue. Democratic state Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. protested the decision, asserting that Taney had a more complicated history on race and that his expansive career in the USA government made him an important figure for the state. His statue sits outside of the State House.

Annapolis joins a growing list of cities that have moved quickly to take down monuments linked to the Confederacy following last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Va., which left one woman dead after auto plowed into a crowd.

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One of the members who voted on the decision, criticized the fact that the vote wasn't held in public. Both families said then that they wanted Taney's statue to remain with a statue of Scott installed nearby.