Georgia Republicans are pushing a new proposal to erect a statue of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas outside the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, several Georgia Republicans, including Senator Ben Watson, Senator Jason Anavitarte, and Senator Brian Strickland would like to honor the conservative Supreme Court judge with a monument for his accomplishments.
Sen. Anavitarte told The AJC it’s “only fitting and proper” to recognize Thomas — who was born in Pin Point, Georgia — outside the Capitol. Anavitarte’s proposal has reportedly received backing from several key co-sponsors including Sen. Watson, and Sen. Strickland.
Strickland told the outlet Thomas is deserving of a statue, so Georgians “for years to come can recognize this man and what he accomplished.” Thomas became just the second Black Supreme Court Justice in 1991 when he was appointed to the seat by President George H.W. Bush. The 73-year-old is the longest-serving member currently sitting on the bench. A 2019 analysis by political scientists called the “Judicial Common Space” found that Thomas is likely the most right-leaning justice on the court.
If the Georgia Republicans and Democrats decide to memorialize Thomas, his statue will stand amongst other portraits, marble busts and monuments of members of the confederacy, and influential Georgia leaders, such as President Jimmy Carter, former Georgia Governor Ellis Arnal and a monument titled “Expelled Because Of Color,” which pays homage to the struggle of Black Georgians fighting for political representation. A statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was added on the Capitol grounds in 2017. His monument became the first statue of an African-American person to be memorialized near the government building.
Several Georgia Democrats, The AJC reports, are against the idea of memorializing Thomas. “I’d rather them keep a Confederate monument than a statue of Clarence Thomas,” said Democratic state Representative Donna McLeod. “That’s how much I don’t like the idea.”