Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, called for the statue of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney to be removed from the front lawn of the Maryland State House following this weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Va.
"As I said at my inauguration, Maryland has always been a state of middle temperament, which is a guiding principle of our administration. While we cannot hide from our history — nor should we — the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history," Hogan said in a statement on Tuesday. "With that in mind, I believe removing the Justice Roger B. Taney statue from the State House grounds is the right thing to do, and we will ask the State House Trust to take that action immediately."
Taney authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision that denied citizenship to black people and affirmed slavery.
Hogan's support for the Confederate-era monument's removal followed calls from top state officials to remove the statue of Taney, which was erected in 1872.
"It's the appropriate time to remove it," Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat, told the Baltimore Sun on Monday.
Busch said leaving the statue on the grounds of the Maryland State House in Annapolis "would send a message that we condone what took place, that slavery is alright."
Busch is one of the four members — along with Hogan and Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, also a Democrat — of the Maryland State House Trust, which would need to vote on removing the statue of Taney.
Miller said in a statement Monday he prefers the monument remain, but said he would support any decision from Hogan on the matter.
"While there is a flawed history surrounding Justice Roger Taney, he was not a Confederate figure," Miller said. "As a student of history, I personally believe there is greater value in educating and providing context to Justice Taney and the inflammatory language of the Dred Scott decision rather than removing his statue from the State House grounds.
"At the same time, however, the Governor is the leader of our State, and the Chair of the State House Trust. Should he support removal, I will not stand in the way of his decision," he added.
Hogan has in the past signaled opposition to removing symbols related to the Confederacy, calling such actions "political correctness run amok."