By Matt Ford
More than 150 years after Ulysses S. Grant’s forces captured the Confederate capital, some members of Congress are trying to eject Robert E. Lee and his allies from Capitol Hill.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday backed the growing calls to remove a group of Confederate statues from the Capitol building complex. “The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible,” she said in a statement. “If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.”
Eight Confederate leaders are honored in the National Statuary Hall Collection. Among them are depictions of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Vice President Alexander Stephens, and Lee. (Some also count West Virginia’s John Kenna, who served in a Confederate Army unit when he was 16 years old, and Louisiana’s Edward White, whose wartime service record is incomplete, as Confederates.)
Congress created the collection in 1864. The original law authorizing it allowed each state to place two statues in the collection; an amendment passed in 2000 allows the states to replace them at their discretion. That doesn’t mean Congress has no control, however: Because the collection was created under federal law and rests on federal property, lawmakers could theoretically amend the original statute to forbid Confederate statues and order the removal of any already present.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker announced Wednesday night he would draft a bill to excise them from the Capitol building. “This is just one step,” the Democrat wrote on Twitter. “We have much work to do.” (The text of the bill is not yet available, according to his congressional office.)
Booker’s efforts look poised to face an uphill battle in Congress: No Republican members have yet backed the statues’ removal, and House Speaker Paul Ryan …read more
Via:: The Atlantic