By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney joined the majority of her House colleagues this week in voting to remove all Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
However, a spokeswoman for one of Cheney’s Wyoming colleagues in the U.S. Senate dismissed the action as taking attention away from more important issues facing Congress.
Cheney joined 284 other representatives in voting for the resolution, which was aimed in part at removing a bust of Chief Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision that declared Black people were not U.S. citizens.
“I joined the majority of my House Republican colleagues in voting to replace the bust of Chief Justice Taney, who wrote the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision, with the statue of Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice,” Cheney told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. “I also support removing statues of those who served in the confederacy. They should not have a place of honor in our Capitol Building.”
The measure said removal of Taney’s bust will show that Congress recognizes the error made with the 1857 decision.
“While the removal of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s bust from the United States Capitol does not relieve the Congress of the historical wrongs it committed to protect the institution of slavery, it expresses Congress’s recognition of one of the most notorious wrongs to have ever taken place in one of its rooms, that of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s Dred Scott v. Sandford decision,” the legislation said.
A statue of Taney was removed from the Maryland State House in 2017, according to National Public Radio.
The legislation would direct the architect of the Capitol to identify and remove all statues and busts that depict members of the Confederacy from public display within 45 days of the resolution’s enactment.
Any removed statue that was provided to the Capitol by a state would be returned to the state, which could then elect to replace it with another honoree.
Among the Confederate statues, there is a statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, displayed in Statuary Hall. The bill also mentioned the removal of statues of Charles Brantley Aycock, John Caldwell Calhoun and James Paul Clarke, three men who defended slavery and segregation.
However, a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis said that the vote was ultimately a distraction from the real issues the senator and the people of Wyoming wanted Congress to address.
“States have historically decided which residents of theirs they want to honor, and this move flies in the face of that tradition, but more importantly this is a distraction from the real issues that Senator Lummis and the people of Wyoming want Congress to address, namely the border crisis, rising inflation, the Biden administration’s attack on American energy and the national debt,” spokeswoman Abegail Cave told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.