Maryland gov orders statue of Dred Scott judge to be removed
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Tuesday that he supports removing the statue of former Chief Justice Roger Taney, who authored the infamous Dred Scott court decision that upheld the practice of slavery in 1857.
“While we cannot hide from our history — nor should we — the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history,” Hogan said in a statement.
“With that in mind, I believe removing the Justice Roger B. Taney statue from the State House grounds is the right thing to do, and we will ask the State House Trust to take that action immediately,” he continued.
President Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, appointed Taney as the fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court. Taney wrote the Dred Scott decision, which denied granting black people citizenship and affirmed the practice of slavery.
The announcement comes amid a contentious public debate over whether to remove statues and memorials honoring the Confederacy. While Taney did not serve in the Confederacy, his court decision affected the lives of black people in the country for decades.
Hogan had in the past suggested he opposed removing Confederate memorials, calling it “political correctness run amok” in 2015.
Brawls broke out between white nationalist groups and counterprotesters on Saturday, after far-right protesters converged on Charlottesville, Va., to demonstrate against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
One woman was killed and at least 19 other people were wounded after a man — who took part in the white supremacist rallies — drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters. The alleged driver, James Alex Fields Jr., has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
A string of statues have been defaced or destroyed following the weekend events. Protestors toppled a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., on Monday night. Boston Police also arrested a suspect accused of vandalizing the city’s Holocaust memorial.
This story was updated at 5:34 p.m.