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House panel to vote on swapping Roger Taney bust with Thurgood Marshall's at Capitol

Thurgood Marshall, the high court's first Black jurist, served on the bench between August 1967 and October 1991. He died in 1993 at the age of 84. Photo courtesy Library of Congress
Thurgood Marshall, the high court's first Black jurist, served on the bench between August 1967 and October 1991. He died in 1993 at the age of 84. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

June 28 (UPI) -- A House committee is scheduled to vote Monday on a proposal to replace a bust of former Supreme Court Justice Roger Brooke Taney with one of Thurgood Marshall, who was the first Black person to serve on the nation's highest court.

The bust of Taney is located in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the north wing of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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Democratic Maryland Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin introduced the bill, which calls for the bust of Taney -- who authored the controversial Dred Scott decision that concluded that Black Americans were not U.S. citizens and that Congress could not prohibit slavery -- with one honoring Marshall's trailblazing career.

"As our country continues to grapple with the past and future of civil rights and systemic racism, we should highlight leaders in history that have propelled us toward justice and put an end to the glorification of those who stood in its way," Van Hollen said in a statement.

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Marshall, a native of Baltimore, was involved as a young attorney in a number of key American cases centered on segregation in public schools, including Murray vs. Pearson and the landmark Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education.

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He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967 and served there until his retirement in 1991. He died in 1993 at the age of 84. Taney was chief justice of the court between 1836 and 1864.

Cardin described Marshall's work as an "inspiration."

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"A civil rights, icon, Thurgood Marshall argued cases that began to bring down the walls of segregation in his home state and nationwide," he said in a statement.

Monday's vote by the House rules committee comes as the full chamber is set to vote on broader legislation introduced by House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., that calls for removing a number of statues in the U.S. Capitol that honor people who served in the Confederacy or upheld slavery by other means.

Hoyer's bill would affect 10 Confederate statues in the Capitol that are part of the National Statuary Hall collection.

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Last July, the House passed a version of the broader bill but it ultimately stalled in the Senate.

Hoyer's bill is expected to receive a full vote sometime this week.

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the court in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Seated, from left to right, are Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing, from left to right, are Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Pool Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

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