The Democratic president of Maryland’s senate is upset about emails – specifically those relating to the removal of Roger Taney’s bronze likeness outside the State House.
In a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan (shared by WBAL this morning), Mike Miller concluded that “voting on this matter by email was just plain wrong.” On Wednesday, the trust held a vote by email, rather than in person, to remove the statue of the Supreme Court chief justice known best for ruling that black people could only be property, and certainly not U.S. citizens, in the 1857 case Dred Scott v. Sandford.
Miller and Hogan are two of the four voting members in the Maryland State House Trust, along with House of Delegates Speaker Mike Busch and Charles Edson, board chairman of the Maryland Historical Trust. Hogan, Busch and Edelson each voted to remove the statue; Miller didn’t vote.
Overnight last night, crews carted off the bronze statue of Taney from the State House lawn.
Miller evidently was expecting more. In his letter, he wrote that he had called for a public meeting, which he noted took place when the state decided to install a statue of Baltimore-born Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1996.
“This was certainly a matter of such consequence that the transparency of a public meeting and public conversation should have occurred,” Miller said.
He dove into the complex history of Taney’s legal career and personal life: how he he worked to help free slaves early in his life; how he represented an abolitionist minister when he was an attorney; how he authored an opinion about South Carolina’s attempt to secede from the Union that President Abraham Lincoln used to deem the move invalid.
Miller had said earlier this week that he opposed removing Taney’s bust from the grounds of the State House, but that he wouldn’t stand in Hogan’s way. A day before, Busch had openly called for its removal. The governor surprised many by agreeing with him, a complete reversal from his views in 2015.
Hogan’s spokesman, Doug Mayer, told both of the above outlets, “Miller is completely within his right to continue defending Roger Taney. We have to agree to disagree.”
Taney’s statue is the fifth one removed around Maryland this week, following the four extractions ordered by Mayor Catherine Pugh in Baltimore overnight on Wednesday. Baltimore and Annapolis are among a group number of cities that have dismantled and relocated monuments with Confederate ties in the wake of last week’s deadly violence between neo-Nazis and counter-protesters in the streets of Charlottesville.
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