House passes bill to honor Ginsburg and O’Connor with Capitol statues
The House cleared legislation on Monday to honor former Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor with statues in the Capitol.
The bill, passed on a largely bipartisan basis by a vote of 349-63, now heads to President Biden for his signature. While a majority of House Republicans overall voted with Democrats in support of the measure, the 63 votes in opposition were all from GOP members.
“The United States Capitol is a global symbol of democracy. This iconic building where we debate and craft law is also a museum of American art and history, with a rich collection of portraits, paintings and statues. Among the hundreds of sculptures, just 14 honor women leaders,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), a member of the House Administration Committee.
“By adding statues of these two pioneering Supreme Court justices, we will honor their legacy and inspire all who pass through these halls.”
The Senate previously passed the bill, authored by Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), by unanimous consent in December.
The legislation states that the statues of Ginsburg and O’Connor should be placed “in a prominent location in the Capitol or on the Capitol grounds.”
It also directs the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library, which oversees art in the Capitol complex, to consider selecting artists from “underrepresented demographic groups” to make the statues.
O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court after she was nominated by former President Reagan in 1981, and served until her retirement in 2006.
Ginsburg, a liberal justice nominated by former President Clinton, joined the Supreme Court in 1993 and served until her death in September 2020.
Aside from O’Connor and Ginsburg, only three other women have served on the Supreme Court: current justices Amy Coney Barrett, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.
But the court is on the cusp of adding another female justice to its ranks.
President Biden pledged during his 2020 campaign that he would nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court in the event of a vacancy. Biden’s nominee to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer, Ketanji Brown Jackson, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate in the coming weeks following her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
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