Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., under fire for opposing the removal of a statue of former Supreme Court chief justice Roger B. Taney from the State House grounds, said Monday that he did not intend to cause division by defending the author of the Dred Scott decision.
“As a student of history, I intended to respectfully state my preference for education about our flawed history and the greater historical context of Justice Taney,” Miller (D-Calvert) said in a statement. “I do regret that sharing my historical perspective has distracted from the larger issue we must face together as a nation and from my role to bring unity and fight for a better Maryland.”
Miller’s comments came shortly after a dozen African American ministers and community activists staged a protest against him in a section of Prince George’s County that is part of the district Miller has represented for more than 40 years.
Standing on the street in Clinton, Md., where Miller’s family owns a liquor store and he operates a law firm, the demonstrators carried handwritten signs that read “No Bigotry, No Racism” and “Black Lives Matter” and chanted “Miller and Taney, both the same.”
They said Miller’s support for Taney, known for his defense of slavery, was a show of disrespect to voters in his district and patrons who support his family’s businesses.