The Georgia Senate on Tuesday approved a proposal to erect a statue of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on the grounds of the Georgia Capitol.
Hearings in 1991 for Thomas were marred by sexual assault allegations from Anita Hill, a lawyer who worked under Thomas.
The bill was sponsored by Republican Senator Ben Watson, who represents the part of Savannah where Thomas is from. The statue would be funded by private donations.
Democratic Senator Emanuel Jones of Decatur spoke in opposition, and explained the term “Uncle Tom” as a person who sold out his community in the time of slavery.
“I don’t expect people of non-color to get the sensitivity that we feel about a person of color whose policies and practices and decisions and votes … we’ve rallied [to] fight against,” said Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur.
“Justice Thomas’ decisions have certainly sparked outrage [among] women and not just women of color, but all women,” Jones added. “And certainly, when we look at the LGBTQ+ community, his votes and positions he’s taken have raised outrage in that community as well.”
Another Democrat, Sen. Nikki Merritt, spoke of Thomas’s wife Ginni and her encouragement of stop-the-steal movements to overturn the 2020 election.
“At minimum, this bill should be tabled until such time that Justice Thomas and his wife are cleared of collaboration in this dark chapter in our history,” said Merritt. “This is not the type of shame we want to enshrine on Capitol grounds.”
Despite opposition, the bill passed easily by a 32-20 party-line vote. It will now move to the Georgia House of Representatives for consideration.
The Georgia Senate passed a similar bill last year, but it failed to reach the House floor.