The Maryland State House removed a statue of Roger Taney this week, a Supreme Court Justice who did not join the Confederacy during the Civil War.
News was buzzing this week that after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Mayor of Baltimore ordered the city's confederate monuments removed under the cover of darkness. Another statue was removed at the State House, but it wasn't a monument to the Confederacy. This was a statue of Roger Taney.Most people will say, "who's that?" Roger Taney has a significant record of public service. He served as Maryland's Attorney General from 1827 to 1831. He briefly served as the United States Secretary of War for a little over a month in 1831 before transitioning into the role of US Attorney General under President Andrew Jackson. He also had short stint as the Secretary of Treasury before being nominated to the Supreme Court in 1836. There, he served as the country's fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, marking the first time a Catholic had ever been confirmed to the bench. He served as Chief Justice until his death in 1864 at the age of 87. With such a long record of public service, many are asking why his statue was removed. The reason given by Governor Larry Hogan is that Taney authored the Supreme Court's decision in the 1857 Dred Scott case. In this infamous case, the Supreme Court ruled that Africans -- whether free or enslaved -- were "beings of an inferior order... and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." The case was decided by a 7-2 vote and marks a dark time in American judicial history. The relationship between Taney and President Lincoln was so poor that when Taney died during the Civil War, the President did not even attend his memorial service.